Spindle cell tumors of the pleura and the peritoneum: pathologic diagnosis and updates

APMIS. 2022 Mar;130(3):140-154. doi: 10.1111/apm.13203. Epub 2022 Jan 11.


A diverse group of both benign and malignant spindle cell tumors can involve the pleura or the peritoneum. Due to their rarity and overlapping morphologic features, these tumors can pose considerable diagnostic difficulty in surgical pathology. As these tumors differ in their prognosis and clinical management, their correct pathologic diagnosis is critical. In addition to histologic assessment, select immunohistochemical and molecular tools can aid the distinction among these tumors. In this review, we consider some of the major histologic differential diagnosis of spindle cell tumors involving these serosal membranes. This list of tumors includes solitary fibrous tumor, inflammatory myofibroblastic tumor, desmoid fibromatosis, synovial sarcoma, sarcomatoid carcinoma, spindle cell melanoma, dedifferentiated liposarcoma, epithelioid hemangioendothelioma, and sarcomatoid mesothelioma. We describe their salient clinicopathologic and genetic findings, with a review on some of the recent discoveries on their molecular pathogenesis.

Keywords: Pleura; peritoneum; sarcoma; sarcomatoid carcinoma; sarcomatoid mesothelioma; spindle.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Peritoneum / pathology
  • Pleura / pathology*
  • Pleural Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Pleural Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Prognosis
  • Sarcoma / diagnosis*
  • Sarcoma / pathology*