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Year : 2010  |  Volume : 47  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 78-79

Infantile myofibroma of the pharynx presenting with severe upper airway obstruction in a child

1 Department of Head and Neck Oncology, Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology, India
2 Department of Pathology, Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology, India

Date of Web Publication12-Jan-2010

Correspondence Address:
S Panja
Department of Head and Neck Oncology, Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-509X.58869

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How to cite this article:
Panja S, Champaka G, Shenoy A M. Infantile myofibroma of the pharynx presenting with severe upper airway obstruction in a child. Indian J Cancer 2010;47:78-9

How to cite this URL:
Panja S, Champaka G, Shenoy A M. Infantile myofibroma of the pharynx presenting with severe upper airway obstruction in a child. Indian J Cancer [serial online] 2010 [cited 2021 Dec 1];47:78-9. Available from: https://www.indianjcancer.com/text.asp?2010/47/1/78/58869


A six-year-old girl presented to us with a history of difficulty in swallowing and occasional blood tinged sputum for two months. On examination a pinkish, lobulated mass, with ulceration, was noticed in the oropharynx extending down to the hypopharynx, occluding the airway. At presentation she had severe respiratory distress and stridor for which an emergency tracheostomy was done.

Computerized tomography showed a large heterogeneous solid mass in the retropharyngeal area with central hypodensity and patchy enhancement of the tumor, more on the right side [Figure 1].

The child was planned for biopsy under general anesthesia, to establish the diagnosis. Intraoperatively a lobulated mass was seen rising from the posterior pharyngeal wall; attached to the right side, and extending to the hypopharynx. The tumor was excised completely. The specimen consisted of a nodular mass measuring 4 x 3 x 1 cm. The cut section was grayish-white and homogenous, with areas of hemorrhage.

Microscopy revealed a neoplasm with multinodular proliferation of oval to spindle cells arranged in whorls around the blood vessels. The oval cells had vesicular nuclei with one or two small nucleoli and a moderate cytoplasm. Mild-to-moderate atypia was noted. The spindle cells had elongated tapering nuclei and scanty cytoplasm. The mitotic count was 6 to 7 / 10 hpfs in the mitotically active areas. Intravascular growth of the tumor was noted [Figure 2]. The stroma also showed an infiltrate of lymphocytes and plasma cells.

On immunohistochemistry, the tumor cells were positive for smooth muscle actin [Figure 3] and negative for S-100, CK, EMA, CD23, CD34, Desmin, MyoD1, HMB-45, and LCA.

The child was successfully decannulated postoperatively and has been kept under regular follow-up. There has been no evidence of recurrence over the last ten months of follow-up.

Infantile myofibromatosis of head and neck are extremely rare, especially in the Indian population. First described in 1954, by Stout, [1] the term "Infantile myofibromatosis" was coined by Chung and Enzinger as a distinct lesion, based on its unique clinical and staining characteristics consistent with its myofibroblastic origin. [2] Although the etiology is unclear, it is believed to be genetic in nature. Microscopically, they form well-circumscribed nodules of plump spindle cells, displaying characteristics intermediate between fibroblasts and smooth muscle cells. Immunophenotypically, the myofibroblastic component and the more primitive component are positive for SMA.

Behavior-wise, some myofibromas regress spontaneously. Chung and Enzinger reported a 10% recurrence rate for the lesions they reviewed, but there do not appear to be any factors that are predictive of a recurrence. [2] However, the multicentric variant has a much poorer prognosis than the solitary one. [3] In cases where the tumors are life threatening, treatment involves surgical excision or low-dose chemotherapy as well as palliative care for symptoms. On account of rapid proliferation and features of increased cellularity and extensive necrosis, these tumors can easily be misdiagnosed as malignant neoplasms. [4] Large lesions located in the aerodigestive tract can unusually present with severe airway compromise in children. [5] The rarity of the disease and the possibility of missing the diagnosis of clinically mild cases makes it difficult to identify and treat.

  References Top

1.Stout AP. Juvenile fibromatosis. Cancer 1954;7:953-78.  Back to cited text no. 1  [PUBMED]    
2.Chung EB, Enzinger FM. Infantile Myofibromatosis. Cancer 1981;48:1807-88.  Back to cited text no. 2  [PUBMED]    
3.Katz A, Mills AE. Infantile myofibromatosis - a solitary lesion. S Afr Med J 1983;64:590-1.  Back to cited text no. 3  [PUBMED]  [FULLTEXT]  
4.Beck JC, Devaney KO, Weatherly RA, Koopmann CF Jr, Lesperance MM. Pediatric Myofibromatosis of the Head and Neck. Arch Otolaryngol Head and Neck Surg 1999;125:39-44.  Back to cited text no. 4      
5.Eze N, Pitkin L, Crowley S, Wilson P, Daya H. Solitary infantile myofibroma compromising the airway. Int J of Pead Otolaryngol 2004;68:1533-7.  Back to cited text no. 5      


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3]


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