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Chest wall – a structure underestimated in ultrasonography. Part III: Neoplastic lesions

Andrzej Smereczyński, Katarzyna Kołaczyk, Elżbieta Bernatowicz

Affiliation and address for correspondence
J Ultrason 2017; 17: 281–288
DOI: 10.15557/JoU.2017.0041

Chest wall neoplasms mainly include malignancies, metastatic in particular. Differential diagnosis should include clinical data; tumor location, extent, delineation; the degree of homogeneity; the presence of calcifications; the nature of bone destruction and the degree of vascularization. The aim of the paper is to present both the benefits and limitations of ultrasound for the diagnosis of chest wall neoplasms. The neoplastic process may be limited to the chest wall; it may spread from the chest wall into the intrathoracic structures or spread from the inside of the chest towards the chest wall. Benign tumors basically originate from vessels, nerves, bones, cartilage and soft tissues. In this paper, we briefly discuss malformations of blood and lymphatic vessels, glomus tumor as well as neurogenic tumors originating in the thoracic branches of the spinal nerves and the autonomic visceral system. Metastases, particularly lung, breast, kidney cancer, melanoma and prostate cancer, are predominant tumors of the osteocartilaginous structures of the chest wall. Plasma cell myeloma is also relatively common. The vast majority of these lesions are osteolytic, which is reflected in ultrasound as irregular cortical defects. Osteoblastic foci result only in irregular outline of the bone surface. Lipomas are the most common neoplasms of the chest wall soft tissue. Elastofibroma is another tumor with characteristic echostructure. Desmoid fibromatosis, which is considered to be a benign lesion with local aggressivity and recurrences after surgical resection, represents an interesting tumor form the clinical point of view. Ultrasonography represents an optimal tool for the monitoring of different biopsies of pathological lesions located in the chest wall. Based on our experiences and literature data, this method should be considered as a preliminary diagnosis of patients with chest wall tumors.

chest wall, benign tumors, malignant tumors, ultrasonography, biopsy