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The Capillary Lobule: A Deceptively Benign Feature of Post-Radiation Angiosarcoma of the Skin: Report of Three Cases

Di Tommaso, Luca MD*; Rosai, Juan MD†

American Journal of Dermatopathology: August 2005 - Volume 27 - Issue 4 - pp 301-305
Original Article

Three cases are presented of a proliferative vascular lesion of the skin developing in the chest wall of women who had received radiation therapy for breast carcinoma. All 3 lesions were characterized microscopically by the presence of the so-called capillary lobule, a formation generally regarded as a sign of benignancy but that in this setting proved to be a forerunner or indicator of angiosarcoma (malignant hemangioendothelioma). Therefore, the detection of capillary lobules in irradiated skin ought to be regarded with great suspicion, and other morphologic signs suggestive of angiosarcoma should be sought in the specimen.

From the Department of Pathology, University of Milan Medical School and Humanitas Clinical Institute, Rozzano, Italy; and †Department of Pathology, National Cancer Institute, Milan, Italy.

Correspondence: Dr. Juan Rosai, Centro Diagnostico Italiano, Via Saint Bon, 20, 20147 Milano, Italy (e-mail: rosai@cdi.it).

© 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.