Clinical and Imaging Features of Tumors in the Scapula

Curr Med Imaging. 2022;18(6):674-683. doi: 10.2174/1573405617666210901144924.


Background: The scapula is a small irregular-shaped flat bone, which may suffer from a variety of tumors or tumor-like lesions. As the imaging manifestations are complex and changeable, correct imaging diagnosis is difficult.

Introduction: At present, there are few related radiology literatures, and it is necessary to fully analyze the imaging signs of different types of benign and malignant tumors in scapula to guide clinical treatment. This study was to investigate clinical and imaging presentations of tumors and tumor- like lesions in the scapula so as to increase the diagnostic accuracy of diseases in the scapula.

Methods: Patients with scapular tumors confirmed by pathology were enrolled. The imaging and clinical data were analyzed.

Results: Among 108 patients, benign tumors were in 53 (49.1%) cases, intermediate in seven (6.5%), and malignant in 48 (44.4%) involving 16 diseases. Osteochondroma was the first benign tumors in 45 cases accounting for 84.9% of all benign scapular tumors, followed by chondroma in four cases (7.5%). The intermediate tumors were mainly eosinophilic granuloma in four cases. Metastatic tumors were the commonest malignant tumor (27 cases or 56.2% of all malignant tumors), followed by chondrosarcoma (in 13 cases). Except for the one case of chondroblastoma in which the lesion involved the glenoid cavity, all the other cartilaginous tumors were located in the scapular body and processes. The type of lesions in the bony processes is the same as in the scapular body, the common lesions in the central area of the body were malignant tumors, and the commonest lesions in the glenoid area were metastasis. Common imaging features of malignant scapular tumors were ill-defined margins, cortical destruction and soft tissue involvement. The imaging features of chondrosarcoma lack specificity except for calcification. Benign lesions usually had a clear boundary and marginal sclerosis.

Conclusion: A wide variety of benign and malignant tumors may occur in the scapula with mostly cartilaginous and metastatic tumors, and the location and distribution of lesions are similar in the scapula to those in the long bones.

Keywords: Scapula; benign; chondroblastoma; clinical imaging; malignant; tumors.

MeSH terms

  • Bone Neoplasms* / diagnostic imaging
  • Chondroblastoma* / diagnosis
  • Chondroblastoma* / pathology
  • Chondroma* / diagnosis
  • Chondroma* / pathology
  • Chondrosarcoma* / diagnostic imaging
  • Chondrosarcoma* / pathology
  • Humans
  • Scapula / diagnostic imaging
  • Scapula / pathology