Cutaneous vascular proliferation. Part II. Hyperplasias and benign neoplasms

J Am Acad Dermatol. 1997 Dec;37(6):887-919; quiz 920-2. doi: 10.1016/s0190-9622(97)70065-3.


This second part of our review about vascular proliferations summarizes the clinicopathologic features of the cutaneous vascular hyperplasias and benign neoplasms. Hyperplasias comprise a heterogeneous group of vascular proliferations that eventually show a tendency to regression. Angiolymphoid hyperplasia with eosinophilia is included within the group of hyperplasias because of its historical denomination and its reactive nature, probably as a consequence of an arteriovenous shunt, although usually the lesions do not regress. Pyogenic granuloma, bacillary angiomatosis, intravascular papillary endothelial hyperplasia, and pseudo-Kaposi's sarcoma qualify as vascular hyperplasias because they regress when the stimulus that initiated them is removed. Benign neoplasms form a large group of hemangiomas with distinctive clinicopathologic characteristics, although some of them are of recent description and may produce diagnostic difficulties. We classified cutaneous benign vascular neoplasms according to their cell lineage of differentiation, for example, endothelial, glomus cell, and pericytic differentiation. Subsequent categories are established according to the size of the involved vessels (capillaries, venules and arterioles, or veins and arteries) or the nature of the proliferating vessels (blood or lymphatic vessels). Capillary and cavernous hemangiomas have been the terms classically used to name the most common variants of benign vascular neoplasms (i.e., infantile hemangiomas), but they are not the most appropriate denominations for these lesions. First, these names are not contrasting terms. Furthermore, most of the socalled "cavernous" hemangiomas are not hemangiomas (neoplasms) at all, but venous malformations. The most important conceptual issue is that, at any point in time, a particular hemangioma has its own histopathologic pattern throughout the depth of the lesion. For these reasons, we classified hemangiomas into superficial and deep categories. Some of the lesions reviewed have been recently described in the literature, and they may histopathologically mimic lesions of Kaposi's sarcoma; these include targetoid hemosiderotic hemangioma, microvenular hemangioma, tufted hemangioma, glomeruloid hemangioma, kaposiform hemangioendothelioma, spindle-cell hemangioendothelioma, and benign lymphangioendothelioma. In each of these lesions, we update and emphasize those clinical and histopathologic features that are helpful for differential diagnosis with lesions of authentic Kaposi's sarcoma in any of its three stages of development (patch, plaque, or nodule).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Angiolymphoid Hyperplasia with Eosinophilia / pathology
  • Angiomatosis, Bacillary / pathology
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Lineage
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Endothelium, Vascular / pathology
  • Glomus Tumor / pathology
  • Granuloma, Pyogenic / pathology
  • Hemangioendothelioma / pathology
  • Hemangioma / pathology
  • Hemangioma, Capillary / pathology
  • Hemangioma, Cavernous / pathology
  • Hemangiopericytoma / pathology
  • Hemangiosarcoma / pathology
  • Humans
  • Hyperplasia
  • Lymphangioma / pathology
  • Remission, Spontaneous
  • Sarcoma, Kaposi / pathology
  • Skin / blood supply
  • Skin Diseases, Vascular / pathology*
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Veins / abnormalities