Esophageal Leiomyoma

Updated: Nov 18, 2016
  • Author: Kavitha Kumbum, MD; Chief Editor: Praveen K Roy, MD, AGAF  more...
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Overview

Background

Benign tumors of the esophagus are rare lesions that constitute less than 1% of esophageal neoplasms. Nearly two thirds of benign esophageal tumors are leiomyomas; the others mostly are polyps and cysts. Thus, leiomyomas are the most common benign tumors of the esophagus. [1]

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Pathophysiology

Leiomyomas represent a hyperproliferation of interlacing bundles of smooth muscle cells that are well-demarcated by adjacent tissue or by a smooth connective tissue capsule. They usually arise as intramural growths, most commonly along the distal two thirds of the esophagus. They are multiple in approximately 5% of patients.

The majority of leiomyomas have been discovered incidentally during evaluation for dysphagia or during autopsy. Bleeding rarely occurs in cases of benign disease but typically is observed with leiomyosarcoma, the malignant counterpart of this tumor. The potential for malignant degeneration of leiomyomas is extremely small. In the distal esophagus, leiomyomas may reach large proportions and may encroach on the cardia of the stomach.

In a retrospective review of the Cleveland Clinic pathology database, Jiang et al investigated the clinicopathologic features of esophageal leiomyomas. Analyzing 30 cases from 28 patients, the investigators found mean tumor sizes among symptomatic and asymptomatic patients to be 5.2 cm and 0.4 cm, respectively. In symptomatic patients, the most common complaint was dysphagia (71.4%). The majority of esophageal leiomyomas (69%) were found in the distal and middle thirds of the esophagus, with most (69.6%) developing from the muscularis propria layer. For the most part, the tumors were made up of bland spindle cells with low cellularity and lacked both nuclear atypia and mitotic activity; cells were found to be positive for smooth muscle actin and negative for the CD34 and CD117 proteins. Among the 22 patients (78.6%) for whom follow-up information was available, no leiomyoma-related adverse events were found. [1]

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Epidemiology

United States and international data

Esophageal leiomyomas comprise less than 0.6% of all esophageal neoplasms, both in the United States and worldwide.

Age-, sex-, and race-related demographics

Esophageal leiomyomas typically occur in individuals aged 20-50 years.

No known sex or race predilection is recognized.

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Prognosis

Following complete surgical resection, no recurrence has ever been reported.

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