Cellular benign fibrous histiocytoma. Clinicopathologic analysis of 74 cases of a distinctive variant of cutaneous fibrous histiocytoma with frequent recurrence

Am J Surg Pathol. 1994 Jul;18(7):668-76.


We report seventy-four cases of a distinctive variant of cutaneous fibrous histiocytoma, which is often mistaken histologically for sarcoma and which carries a high local recurrence rate. These tumors appeared most commonly in young or middle-aged adults, with a predominance in men (male/female ratio 1.9:1). Anatomic distribution was wide, with cases occurring mainly in the upper limb/limb girdle (34%), lower limb/limb girdle (27%), and head and neck region (20%). Most lesions had been present for only a few months, and their sizes ranged from 0.5 cm to 2.5 cm in maximum diameter. Twelve (26%) of 46 cases with follow-up (mean duration 3 years) recurred locally, in one case twice. Distinctive histologic features were a commonly fascicular growth pattern, predominance of eosinophilic spindle cells with tapering nuclei, a moderate mitotic rate (mean three per 10 high-power fields), and frequent extension into the subcutaneous fat (33% of cases). In addition, all cases showed at least focal cytologic polymorphism (inflammatory cells, foam cells, giant cells), and 58% showed associated epidermal alterations in common with usual cutaneous fibrous histiocytomas. Nine cases (12%) showed foci of central necrosis. Immunohistochemical studies (ABC method) found only vimentin and very focal smooth muscle actin positivity. Tests for CD34, desmin, S-100, keratin, and Factor XIIIa were negative in all cases. These lesions should be distinguished from dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans and leiomyosarcoma, with which many of these cases were initially confused.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Histiocytoma, Benign Fibrous / metabolism
  • Histiocytoma, Benign Fibrous / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mitosis
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Skin Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology*