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Lancet Oncol. 2005 Apr;6(4):219-28.

Cardiac tumours: diagnosis and management.

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Department of Pathology, Toronto Medical Laboratories, Toronto General Hospital, University Health Network, Canada. <>


Primary cardiac tumours are rare, with an autopsy incidence ranging from 0.001% to 0.030%. Three-quarters of these tumours are benign and nearly half of the benign tumours are myxomas. Metastases to the heart are far more common than primary cardiac tumours. Primary cardiac tumours present with one or more of the symptoms of the classic triad of: cardiac symptoms and signs resulting from intracardiac obstruction; signs of systemic embolisation; and systemic or constitutional symptoms. They are diagnosed by use of transthoracic and transoesophageal echocardiograms, MRI, and CT scan. Whereas surgery is indicated in patients with benign tumours, systemic chemotherapy is indicated in those who have widespread or unresectable malignant disease, and chemotherapy and radiotherapy are usually combined in treatment of patients with primary cardiac lymphomas. The prognosis after surgery is usually excellent in the case of benign tumours but is unfortunately still limited in localised malignant diseases. Patients with sarcomas live for a mean of 3 months to 1 year, and those with lymphomas live up to 5 years if treated, but usually die within 1 month if untreated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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