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What Is a Mesenchymal Neoplasm?

By Maggie J. Hall
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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A mesenchymal neoplasm generally involves abnormal cellular growth in bone, connective tissue, or the lymph and circulatory systems. Neoplastic cells may be benign or malignant and require evaluation and testing for a definitive diagnosis. Treatment modalities usually depend on whether the abnormality is a malignant tumor or presents secondary complications for the patient.

The term neoplasia refers to the presence of abnormal cellular reproduction somewhere in the body. Determining whether the cells are benign or malignant usually requires a biopsy performed by needle aspiration or surgical removal of the tissue in question. Using biochemical, histological, and molecular testing, laboratory specialists analyze the type of tissue involved in the tumor.

A benign tumor usually remains small and grows slowly. This type of neoplasm is commonly contained within a fibrous or fatty capsule and does not invade surrounding areas. The overall growth appears smooth and the cells resemble those of adjacent tissue. The genetic material inside the cells also usually appears normal. Often, physicians prefer to monitor the growth for periodic changes and do not recommend treatment unless the tumor causes discomfort or affects bodily functions or other organs.

Malignant tumors grow rapidly, invade surrounding tissues, and metastasize to other parts of the body. A mesenchymal neoplasm of this nature often appears irregular and does not have a confining capsule. Cancerous cells typically do not resemble the cells of surrounding areas, and tumors generally contain cells that vary in size and appearance. The vascular development in the tumor is usually abnormal and fragile, which commonly produces hemorrhaging. Malignancies also commonly cause cellular necrosis in normal tissues.

Oncologists commonly refer to a malignant mesenchymal neoplasm as a sarcoma. The specific tumor name usually accompanies the location of the growth followed by the term "sarcoma." Tumors in fibrous tissue, for example, may be referred to as fibrosarcoma. Liposarcoma generally refers to tumors developing in fatty tissue. Bone cancers are often called osteoogenic sarcomas.

Benign neoplasms may occur because of hereditary conditions. Environmental, genetic, and viral factors may all contribute to the development and growth of a cancerous mesenchymal neoplasm. Some families have a genetic predisposition to develop tumors. Researchers believe the Epstein-Barr and hepatitis viruses may both contribute to cancer growth.

Following extensive evaluation and testing, physicians typically consider treatment based on the grade of the cancer. Grading generally involves the size of the mesenchymal neoplasm, whether or not the tumor has invaded surrounding tissues, and the degree of metastasis. Physicians may recommend chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery, or a combination of treatments that eliminate or minimize the mesenchymal neoplasm and associated symptoms.

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