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Virchows Arch. 2010 Feb;456(2):181-92. doi: 10.1007/s00428-009-0822-y. Epub 2009 Aug 25.

Running GAGs: myxoid matrix in tumor pathology revisited: what's in it for the pathologist?

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Leiden University Medical Center, L1Q, Leiden, The Netherlands.


Ever since Virchow introduced the entity myxoma, abundant myxoid extracellular matrix (ECM) has been recognized in various reactive and neoplastic lesions. Nowadays, the term "myxoid" is commonly used in daily pathological practice. But what do today's pathologists mean by it, and what does the myxoid ECM tell the pathologist? What is known about the exact composition and function of the myxoid ECM 150 years after Virchow? Here, we give an overview of the composition and constituents of the myxoid ECM as known so far and demonstrate the heterogeneity of the myxoid ECM among different tumors. We discuss the possible role of the predominant constituents of the myxoid ECM and attempt to relate them to differences in clinical behavior. Finally, we will speculate on the potential relevance of this knowledge in daily pathological practice.

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