Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Am J Surg Pathol. 1994 May;18(5):479-85.

Plexiform malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor of infancy and childhood.

Author information

Department of Soft Tissue Pathology, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Washington, D.C. 20306-6000.


We present nine cases of an atypical cellular peripheral nerve sheath tumor, designated plexiform malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor (MPNST) of infancy and childhood, occurring in five boys and four girls aged 50 days to 13 years (median, 1.5 years). The tumors were located in the lower extremities (five cases), upper extremities (three cases), and the orbital region (one case), and they ranged from 1.5 to 8 cm in size (median, 3 cm). Two lesions were congenital, and another was associated with a history of von Recklinghausen's disease. Follow-up, available in six cases, ranged from 6 months to 15 years (median, 51 months); four patients had local recurrences within 8 to 31 months after excision of the initial lesion, and one with an orbital tumor died of locally invasive disease within 6 months. Histologically, the initial lesions were characterized by a predominantly superficial location within the dermis and subcutis, with occasional extension into deeper soft tissues, had infiltrative or sharply demarcated margins, and resembled entangled or intertwined hypercellular nerve trunks, resulting in a plexiform appearance at low magnification. The nuclei were oval to serpentine with a vesicular chromatin pattern and small basophilic nucleoli; mitoses were seen in all cases and averaged from 1 to 18/10 high-power fields (hpf) (median, 4/10 hpf). Neither necrosis nor vascular invasion was seen. Features diagnostic of plexiform or cellular schwannoma, such as nuclear pleomorphism, Antoni B areas, thick-walled hyalinized blood vessels, and secondary degenerative features were lacking. Other than a prominent plexiform architecture, the lesions were indistinguishable from MPNST occurring in other sites in infants and children. Although none metastasized, the histologic similarity of plexiform MPNST to other childhood MPNST, its relatively high propensity for local recurrences, and its potential to behave in a locally aggressive manner indicate that it is best regarded as low-grade malignant. Overall, the behavior of plexiform MPNST is better than other MPNST in children, probably because of its relatively small size, peripheral and superficial location in most instances, absence of necrosis or vascular invasion, occurrence in young patients, and infrequent association with von Recklinghausen's disease rather than a function of its prominent plexiform architecture. Distinction of plexiform MPNST from cellular and plexiform schwannoma, plexiform neurofibroma, and hamartomatous lesions of childhood is important. Complete excision should be ensured to prevent local recurrences and potential metastases.

Comment in

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Support Center