Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci 2005; 9 (4): 231-240

Angiosarcoma of the heart: structural and ultrastructural study

F. Carpino, F. Pezzoli, V. Petrozza, G. Carpino*, A. Evangelista**, D. Mutone§, M. Reali§, C. Gaudio**

Department of Experimental Medicine and Pathology
*Department of Human Anatomy
**Department of Heart and Great Vessels
§Department of Cardiovascular and Respiratory Sciences
University of Rome “La Sapienza” – Rome (Italy)

Abstract. – Background: Primary cardiac tumours are rare. Nearly 70% of primary cardiac tumours are benign, the majority of which are represented by myxomas. The most frequent primary cardiac neoplasm is the angiosarcoma that represents 31% of primary cardiac malignant. We report a particular clinical case of cardiac angiosarcoma, its light and transmission electron microscopic aspects and a review of the recent literature.
Methods: A 52 years old man died for a severe right ventricle filling deficit caused by an intracavitary tumour originated from the right atrial anterolateral wall. The fragments obtained from autoptic tumoral cardiac tissue were processed for light and electron microscopy. The section were stained with haematoxilin-eosin, Masson trichromic and Gomori method. An immunohistochemical study for vimentin, Factor VIII related antigen and peroxidase-conjugated lectin from Ulex Europaeus was also performed using the unlabed peroxidase-antiperoxidase method.
Results: The hematoxylin-eosin staining showed that the tumoral mass was composed by a well-differentiated histotype characterized by numerous vascular areas in which neoplastic cells were loosely and irregularly arranged to form incomplete vessels or anastomized blood-filled vascular channels. On the other hand, some less-differentiated solid areas were present and irregularly surrounded the differentiated vascular areas. Results of Ulex Europeaeus Agglutinin I labelling were positive in both solid and vascular areas of the tumour although the positive reaction was less evident in the solid zones Factor VIII related antigen positive cells were less numerous and mainly found in vascular areas. The observation by electron microscopy showed the lack of evident pinocytotic vesicles, the presence of thin and delicate cytoplasmatic processes, Weibel-Palade bodies, and also the disarrangement of the extracellular fibrous matrix.
Conclusion: The light microscopy observation and immunohistochemical study underscore that is not easy to obtain information about the level of differentiation of this tumour. The presence of blood-filled lumina and the identification of typical markers of endothelial cells seems to indicate a well-differentiated nature. However, the ultrastructural findings seem to indicate a less differentiated nature.

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F. Carpino, F. Pezzoli, V. Petrozza, G. Carpino*, A. Evangelista**, D. Mutone§, M. Reali§, C. Gaudio**
Angiosarcoma of the heart: structural and ultrastructural study

Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci
Year: 2005
Vol. 9 - N. 4
Pages: 231-240