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Skeletal Radiol. 2013 Jul;42(7):917-24. doi: 10.1007/s00256-012-1565-4. Epub 2013 Jan 31.

Gorham-Stout disease and generalized lymphatic anomaly--clinical, radiologic, and histologic differentiation.

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Vascular Anomalies Center and Division of Vascular and Interventional Radiology, Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA.



Gorham-Stout disease (GSD) is a rare vascular disorder of lymphatic origin characterized by progressive osteolysis. Generalized lymphatic anomaly (GLA) is a multisystem disorder that also commonly affects bone. We hypothesized that Gorham-Stout disease is different from other osseous lymphatic anomalies. We proposed to discriminate these entities by analyzing findings on skeletal imaging.


Clinical data, imaging studies, and histopathologic findings were retrospectively reviewed in patients presenting to our Vascular Anomalies Center with lymphatic anomalies of bone.


Within a cohort of 51 patients with lymphatic disorder and radiological evidence of bony involvement, two distinct categories emerged. Nineteen patients met the imaging criteria for GSD: progressive osteolysis with resorption and cortical loss. Thirty-two were categorized as GLA: Discrete radiolucencies and increasing numbers of bone affected over time, but without evidence of progressive osteolysis. The ribs were the most common site in both groups, followed by the cranium, clavicle, and cervical spine in GSD, and thoracic spine, humerus, and femur in GLA. Fewer bones were involved in GSD, with relative sparing of the appendicular skeleton. Associated infiltrative soft tissue abnormality was seen in 18 in GSD, but only six with GLA. Macrocystic lymphatic malformations were identified in 14 with GLA, but none with GSD.


There are significant radiological differences between GSD and GLA, although there are some overlapping features. The major distinguishing characteristic is the progressive osteolysis seen in GSD. Findings suggestive of GLA are more extensive involvement, particularly of the appendicular skeleton, presence of discretemacrocystic lymphatic malformations and visceral organ lesions.

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