Uterine Mesenchymal Tumors: Update on Classification, Staging, and Molecular Features

Surg Pathol Clin. 2019 Jun;12(2):363-396. doi: 10.1016/j.path.2019.01.004.


The spectrum of mesenchymal neoplasia in the uterus has expanded in recent years. First, the identification of prevalent, recurrent molecular alterations has led to a more biologically and clinically congruent classification of endometrial stromal tumors. Likewise, the diagnostic criteria of several rare and miscellaneous tumor types have been refined in recent case series (Perivascular Epithelioid Cell tumor, inflammatory myofibroblastic tumor). Pure mesenchymal tumors are still broadly classified based on morphology according to the tumor cell phenotype. Smooth muscle tumors predominate in frequency, followed by tumors of endometrial stromal derivation; the latter are covered in depth in this article with an emphasis on defining molecular alterations and their morphologic and clinical correlates. The remaining entities comprise a miscellaneous group in which cell derivation does not have a normal counterpart in the uterus (eg, rhabdomyosarcoma) or is obscure (eg, undifferentiated uterine sarcoma). This article discusses their clinical relevance, recent insights into their molecular biology, and the most important differential diagnoses. Regarding the latter, immunohistochemistry and (increasingly) molecular diagnostics play a role in the diagnostic workup. We conclude with a few considerations on intraoperative consultation and macroscopic examination, as well as pathologic staging and grading of uterine sarcomas as per the most recent American Joint Cancer Commission and the Fédération Internationale de Gynécologie et d'Obstétrique staging systems.

Keywords: Adenosarcoma; Endometrial stromal sarcoma; Inflammatory myofibroblastic tumor; PEComa; Rhabdomyosarcoma; Sarcoma; Undifferentiated uterine sarcoma; Uterus.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenosarcoma / diagnosis
  • Adenosarcoma / genetics
  • Adenosarcoma / pathology
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Mutation
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Sarcoma, Endometrial Stromal / diagnosis
  • Sarcoma, Endometrial Stromal / genetics
  • Sarcoma, Endometrial Stromal / pathology
  • Uterine Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Uterine Neoplasms / genetics
  • Uterine Neoplasms / pathology


  • Biomarkers, Tumor

Supplementary concepts

  • Adenosarcoma of the uterus