Spindle Cell/Pleomorphic Lipoma With Trichodiscoma-like Epithelial Hyperplasia Mimicking Atypical Fibroxanthoma/Pleomorphic Dermal Sarcoma

Am J Dermatopathol. 2022 Oct 1;44(10):764-767. doi: 10.1097/DAD.0000000000002206. Epub 2022 Apr 27.


A 58-year-old man presented with a lesion on the nose suspicious for basal cell carcinoma. An initial biopsy specimen reviewed at an outside institution showed a cytologically atypical spindle cell proliferation that lacked expression of cytokeratins or melanocytic markers. The resulting differential diagnosis included atypical fibroxanthoma and pleomorphic dermal sarcoma. Histopathologic examination of the excision specimen at our institution revealed an intradermal pleomorphic and spindle cell tumor which extended into underlying skeletal muscle. The tumor was associated with a fibromyxoid stroma, scattered adipocytes, and hyperplastic folliculosebaceous epithelium at the periphery. The pleomorphic tumor cells showed hyperchromatic nuclei with smudgy chromatin, and no mitotic activity was detected. Overall, the cellularity was less than would be expected for atypical fibroxanthoma/pleomorphic dermal sarcoma. Furthermore, the tumor cells were strongly positive for CD34 and showed diffuse loss of retinoblastoma protein by immunohistochemistry. Consequently, a diagnosis of benign CD34-positive pleomorphic spindle cell tumor was rendered, with features overlapping between spindle cell/pleomorphic lipoma and trichodiscoma. Subsequent single-nucleotide pleomorphism array testing revealed heterozygous loss of chromosome 13q in a region that spanned the RB1 locus and copy number loss at 16q, favoring that the proliferation in fact represents a spindle cell/pleomorphic lipoma with trichodiscoma-like epithelial induction. This case highlights an important diagnostic pitfall that may be avoided by recognizing characteristic architectural and cytologic features of this spectrum of lesions.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism
  • Bone Neoplasms*
  • Chromatin
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Histiocytoma, Malignant Fibrous*
  • Humans
  • Hyperplasia
  • Lipoma* / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nucleotides
  • Retinoblastoma Protein / genetics
  • Skin Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Skin Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Skin Neoplasms* / metabolism


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Chromatin
  • Nucleotides
  • Retinoblastoma Protein