Lymphatic differentiation and microvascular proliferation in benign vascular lesions of skin and soft tissue: Diagnostic features following the International Society for The Study of Vascular Anomalies Classification—A retrospective study

Amalia Mulia Utami, Max M. Lokhorst, Lorine B. Meijer-Jorna, Mara A. Kruijt, Sophie E. R. Horbach, Onno J. de Boer, Chantal M. A. M. van der Horst, Allard C. van der Wal

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Background: Discrepancies have been noted between the clinical and histologic diagnosis of vascular malformations. Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of the International Society for Study of Vascular Anomalies (ISSVA) classification in diagnosing benign vascular anomalies based on clinical and (immuno) histologic parameters, focusing on lymphatic differentiation and vascular proliferation. Method: A retrospective study of 121 consecutive patients with benign skin and soft-tissue vascular anomalies located in the head and neck region (pyogenic granulomas and angioma senilis were excluded) by applying multiplex immunohistochemistry staining for lymph vessels (D2-40), endothelial blood vessels, and proliferating cells (Ki67). Clinical and histologic diagnosis was revised after the ISSVA classification. Results: Initially, 64 lesions were diagnosed as tumors and 57 as malformations. Revision diagnosis following the ISSVA classification revealed 27 tumors, 90 malformations (22.2% lymphatic), and 4 non-ISSVA. Immunostaining showed lymphatic differentiation in 24 (19.8%) of 121 cases, of which 20 were malformations. Proliferative activity (Ki67+) was found in 41 (33.8%) of 121 cases, of which 8 were arteriovenous malformations. Limitation: Quality and size of materials (biopsies vs resections) and clinical information. Conclusion: The diagnostic accuracy of combined histologic and clinical approaches for identifying vascular anomalies following the ISSVA classification can be substantially enhanced by incorporating additional immunostaining techniques to evaluate lymphatic differentiation and proliferative activity, particularly in identifying the occurrence of vascular malformations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-23
Number of pages9
JournalJAAD International
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2023


  • ISSVA classification
  • lymphatic vessels
  • microvascular proliferation
  • skin tumor
  • soft-tissue tumor
  • vascular anomalies
  • vascular malformations

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