Vascular and perivascular lesions of skin and soft tissues in children and adolescents

Elisabeth Bruder, Rita Alaggio, Harry P.W. Kozakewich, Gernot Jundt, Louis P. Dehner, Cheryl M. Coffin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Vascular anomalies in children and adolescents are the most common soft tissue lesions and include reactive, malformative, and neoplastic tumefactions, with a full spectrum of benign, intermediate, and malignant neoplasms. These lesions are diagnostically challenging because of morphologic complexity and recent changes in classification systems, some of which are based on clinical features and others on pathologic findings. In recent decades, there have been significant advances in clinical diagnosis, development of new therapies, and a better understanding of the genetic aspects of vascular biology and syndromes that include unusual vascular proliferations. Most vascular lesions in children and adolescents are benign, although the intermediate locally aggressive and intermediate rarely metastasizing neoplasms are important to distinguish from benign and malignant mimics. Morphologic recognition of a vasoproliferative lesion is straightforward in most instances, and conventional morphology remains the cornerstone for a specific diagnosis. However, pathologic examination is enhanced by adjunctive techniques, especially immunohistochemistry to characterize the type of vessels involved. Multifocality may cause some uncertainty regarding the assignment of "benign" or "malignant." However, increased interest in vascular anomalies, clinical expertise, and imaging technology have contributed greatly to our understanding of these disorders to the extent that in most vascular malformations and in many tumors, a diagnosis is made clinically and biopsy is not required for diagnosis. The importance of close collaboration between the clinical team and the pathologist cannot be overemphasized. For some lesions, a diagnosis is not possible from evaluation of histopathology alone, and in a subset of these, a specific diagnosis may not be possible even after all assembled data have been reviewed. In such instances, a consensus diagnosis in conjunction with clinical colleagues guides therapy. The purpose of this review is to delineate the clinicopathologic features of vascular lesions in children and adolescents with an emphasis on their unique aspects, use of diagnostic adjuncts, and differential diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-61
Number of pages36
JournalPediatric and Developmental Pathology
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
StatePublished - 2012


  • Angiosarcoma
  • Hemangioendothelioma
  • Hemangioma
  • Vascular anomaly
  • Vascular malformation


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