Cutaneous leiomyosarcoma

Am J Surg Pathol. 1997 Sep;21(9):979-87. doi: 10.1097/00000478-199709000-00001.


We report the clinical, histopathologic, immunohistologic, and prognostic findings in 19 patients with cutaneous leiomyosarcoma, eight males and 11 females (mean age, 66 years; age range, 41-93 years). The tumors presented mainly as solitary lesions and were located on the head and neck (eight lesions), trunk (four lesions), upper extremities (three lesions), and lower extremities (four lesions). Histopathologically, two predominant growth patterns were observed: nodular (12 cases) and diffuse (seven cases). Neoplasms with a nodular growth pattern were characterized by high cellularity and prominent nuclear atypia, and they showed conspicuous mitoses, several necrotic cells, and sometimes extensive necrotic areas. By contrast, most cutaneous leiomyosarcomas with a diffuse growth pattern revealed low cellularity, well-differentiated smooth muscle cells, inconspicuous mitotic figures, and few or no necrotic cells. Immunohistologic investigations revealed all cutaneous leiomyosarcomas to express vimentin and smooth muscle actin. Pan-muscle actin (HHF-35) was also expressed in most cases (15 lesions). However, only 12 lesions showed positive staining for desmin. Remarkable was the expression of cytokeratins in five lesions. Clinical follow-up revealed local recurrences in five patients (three cases with nodular pattern and two lesions with a diffuse pattern) after a period ranging from 8 months to 3 years after surgical excision. No distant metastases have been observed in our series. We conclude that cutaneous leiomyosarcoma with a diffuse growth pattern may constitute a pitfall in histopathologic diagnosis because of the presence of only subtle criteria for malignancy. Cutaneous leiomyosarcoma may show different immunophenotypes, thus emphasizing the importance of using a large panel of antibodies (smooth muscle actin, HHF-35, desmin, vimentin, cytokeratins, and S-100 protein) in immunohistologic diagnosis. Cutaneous leiomyosarcoma sometimes reveals local recurrences, but it has negligible potential for distant metastases.

MeSH terms

  • Actins / analysis
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Desmin / analysis
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Keratins / analysis
  • Leiomyosarcoma / chemistry
  • Leiomyosarcoma / pathology*
  • Leiomyosarcoma / surgery
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mitotic Index
  • Necrosis
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Skin Neoplasms / chemistry
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Skin Neoplasms / surgery
  • Vimentin / analysis


  • Actins
  • Desmin
  • Vimentin
  • Keratins