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Soft tissue sarcomas do not generally metastasise via lymphatics, and the presence or absence of lymphatic vessels within sarcomas and benign soft tissue tumours is not known. In this study, we determined whether lymphatic vessels were present in a wide range of benign and malignant soft tissue lesions by examining intratumoural expression of the lymphatic endothelial cell markers, Lyve-1 and podoplanin. Intratumoural Lyve-1+/podoplanin+ lymphatics were not identified in sarcomas apart from all cases of epithelioid sarcoma (a tumour which is known to metastasise to lymph nodes) and a few cases of leiomyosarcoma, rhabdomyosarcoma and synovial sarcoma. Intratumoural lymphatics were also absent in most benign soft tissue tumours. Reparative and inflammatory soft tissue lesions contained lymphatics, as did all (pseudosarcomatous) proliferative myofibroblastic lesions including nodular, proliferative and ischaemic fasciitis, elastofibroma, nuchal fibroma and deep fibromatosis. Our results show that most soft tissue sarcomas do not contain intratumoural lymphatics, a finding which is consistent with the infrequent finding of sarcoma metastasis to lymph nodes. In contrast to fibrosarcoma and a number of other malignant spindle cell tumours, proliferative fibroblastic/myofibroblastic lesions of soft tissue contain intralesional lymphatic vessels.

Original publication




Journal article


Virchows Archiv : an international journal of pathology

Publication Date





457 - 464


Department of Pathology, University of Oxford, Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, Oxford, OX3 7LD, UK.


Endothelial Cells, Lymphatic Vessels, Humans, Fibrosarcoma, Sarcoma, Soft Tissue Neoplasms, Lymphatic Metastasis, Membrane Glycoproteins, Vesicular Transport Proteins, Diagnosis, Retrospective Studies, Biomarkers, Tumor