Tumors of the heart. A 20-year experience with a review of 12,485 consecutive autopsies

Arch Pathol Lab Med. 1993 Oct;117(10):1027-31.


Cardiac involvement by primary and secondary tumors is one of the least investigated subjects in oncology. Seven cases of primary and 154 cases of secondary cardiac tumors from autopsies performed over a 20-year period (1972 through 1991) at Queen Mary Hospital, Hong Kong, were reviewed. During this period, 12,485 autopsies were performed, and the autopsy incidence for primary and secondary heart tumors is thus 0.056% and 1.23%, respectively. Only seven primary cardiac tumors were found, including two myxomas, two rhabdomyomas, two hemangiomas, and one lipoma. For secondary tumors involving the heart (including both metastasis and local extension), important primary tumors in male subjects were carcinoma of the lung (31.7%), esophageal carcinoma (28.7%), lymphoma (11.9%), carcinoma of the liver (6.9%), leukemia (4.0%), and gastric carcinoma (4.0%), while in female subjects, carcinoma of the lung (35.9%), lymphoma (17.0%), carcinoma of the breast (7.5%), and pancreatic carcinoma (7.5%) predominated. Overall, the three most common malignant neoplasms encountered were carcinoma of the lung, esophageal carcinoma, and lymphoma. Pericardium, including epicardium, was the most common location of cardiac involvement by secondary tumors, followed by myocardium and endocardium. The present study showed a higher percentage of esophageal carcinoma and carcinoma of the liver (reflecting the higher incidence of these tumors in Hong Kong Chinese), but a lower incidence of carcinoma of the breast when compared with other series. The metastatic lung tumors showed an unusual predominance of adenocarcinoma.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Heart Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Heart Neoplasms / secondary
  • Hong Kong / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Urban Health