Angiosarcoma of the Liver: Clinicopathologic Features and Morphologic Patterns

Saba Yasir, Michael Torbenson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Angiosarcoma is a rare malignant neoplasm of the liver. The various morphologic patterns seen with angiosarcomas of the liver have not been systematically studied and their recognition remains a major diagnostic challenge. In order to provide more comprehensive data on the morphologic patterns, angiosarcomas that had been diagnosed between 1996 and 2016 at a large medical referral center were reviewed. The major growth patterns were classified as sinusoidal (non-mass forming) versus mass forming. The mass-forming cases were further subdivided into epithelioid, spindled, or vasoformative. The study identified 21 patients with primary hepatic angiosarcoma: 13 men and 8 women. The ages ranged from 26 to 89 years. Seventeen angiosarcomas were mass-forming tumors, of which 9 showed predominantly vasoformative growth. Most of these vasoformative cases (6/9) were composed of small vessels, 2 cases had slit-like vascular spaces, and one case showed a mixture of small and large vessels. There were 7 mass-forming angiosarcomas without vasoformation: 3 had an epithelioid morphology and 4 were composed primarily of spindled cells. The final mass-forming tumor showed a mixture of vasoformative and nonvasoformative areas. Four of 21 cases were non-mass forming and showed either diffuse sinusoidal infiltration (N=2) or prominent peliotic changes (N=2). Finally, 3 uncommon patterns were identified. One case showed nodules of spindle cells arranged in prominent whorls in a background of loose connective tissue with abundant inflammation. A second case arose in the setting of the Blue Rubber Bleb Nevus Syndrome and showed numerous tumor nodules with an architectural pattern that resembled infantile hemangioma, some with areas of atypia consistent with malignant transformation to angiosarcoma. The third unusual pattern showed multiple nodules of thin walled large caliber vascular proliferations, some of which showed atypia that reached the level of angiosarcoma. The results from this study indicate that the majority of hepatic angiosarcomas are mass forming (two third of cases), a pattern that is recognizable on H&E when vasoformative, but can mimic carcinoma or undifferentatied sarcomas when nonvasoformative (one third of cases). The sinusoidal patterns are particularly challenging and are frequently missed on initial review. Finally, we describe several unsual patterns of angiosarcoma. Awareness of these classic and rare morphologic patterns can help make the diagnosis of angiosarcoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)581-590
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgical Pathology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2019


  • angiosarcoma
  • epithelioid
  • sinusoidal
  • spindled
  • vasoformative

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Surgery
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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