Intramuscular myxoma: A clinicopathologic study of 51 cases with emphasis on hypercellular and hypervascular variants

Gunnlaugur P. Nielsen, John X. O'Connell, Andrew E. Rosenberg

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85 Scopus citations


Intramuscular myxoma (IM) is a benign soft-tissue tumor that presents as a deeply seated mass confined to skeletal muscle. Surgical excision is virtually always curative. Recurrence, even after incomplete resection, is exceptional. Intramuscular myxoma is classically described as hypocellular and hypovascular, and is composed of cytologically bland stellate and bipolar fibroblasts separated by abundant extracellular myxoid matrix. What is underemphasized, however, is that IMs often show areas of increased cellularity and vascularity that can lead to a mistaken diagnosis of sarcoma, especially myxofibrosarcoma, low-grade fibromyxoid sarcoma, and myxoid liposarcoma. In this report, we describe the clinicopathologic features of 51 IMs with special emphasis on those that exhibit these 'hypercellular regions.' The patients included 35 women and 16 men who ranged in age from 27 to 89 (mean 52) years. The tumors measured from 2 to 15 (average 5.6) cm and all had a gelatinous, lobulated cut surface. Histologically, they all demonstrated classic hypocellular, hypovascular regions. Thirty-eight tumors contained areas of relative increased cellularity that occupied from 10 to 80% of the tumor. These foci had increased numbers of cells, more prominent vascularity, and often increased collagen content. The hypercellular regions were not associated with cytologic atypia of the constituent cells, mitotic activity, or necrosis. Follow-up information was available for 32 patients and ranged from 3 to 108 (average 30) months. No tumor recurred or metastasized. Areas of hyper-cellularity are common in IMs. Their recognition is important to avoid an erroneous diagnosis of sarcoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1222-1227
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgical Pathology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Myxoma
  • Soft tissue

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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