Tumors Involving Skin, Soft Tissue and Skeletal Muscle: Benign, Primary Malignant or Metastatic?

  • Hsieh, Chi-Ying (Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in the Instituition, Far Eastern Memorial Hospital) ;
  • Tsai, Huang-Wen (Division of General Surgery, Department of Surgery, Far Eastern Memorial Hospital) ;
  • Chang, Chih-Chun (Department of Clinical Pathology, Far Eastern Memorial Hospital) ;
  • Lin, Tsuo-Wu (Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in the Instituition, Far Eastern Memorial Hospital) ;
  • Chang, Ke-Chung (Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in the Instituition, Far Eastern Memorial Hospital) ;
  • Chen, Yo-Shen (Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in the Instituition, Far Eastern Memorial Hospital)
  • Published : 2015.10.06


Background: Metastatic cancer with invasion of skin, soft tissue and skeletal muscle is not common. Examples presenting as soft tissue masses could sometimes lead to misdiagnosis with delayed or inappropriate management. The purpose of current study was to investigate clinical characteristics in the involvement of metastatic cancer. Materials and Methods: A total of 1,097 patients complaining of skin or soft tissue masses and/or lesions were retrospectively reviewed from January 2012 to June 2013. Tumors involving skin, soft tissue and skeletal muscle of head and neck, chest wall, abdominal wall, pelvic region, back, upper and lower extremities were included in the study. Results: Fifty-seven (5.2%) patients were recognized as having malignancies on histopathological examination. The most common involvement of malignancy was basal cell carcinoma, followed by cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma, sarcoma and melanoma. The most common anatomical location in skin and soft tissue malignancies was head and neck (52.6% of the malignancies). Four (0.36%) of the malignant group were identified as metastatic cancer with the primary cancer source from lung, liver and tonsil and the most common site was upper extremities. One of them unexpectedly expired during the operation of metastatic tumor excision at the scalp. Conclusions: Discrimination between benign and malignant soft tissue tumors is crucial. Performance of imaging study could assist in the differential diagnosis and the pre-operative risk evaluation of metastatic tumors involving skin, soft tissue and skeletal muscle.


Skeletal muscle tumor;skin tumor;soft tissue metastasis;subcutaneous tumor


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