Review Article

European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology

, Volume 269, Issue 12, pp 2461-2465

First online:

Inflammatory myofibroblastic tumors of the head and neck: evaluation of clinicopathologic and prognostic features

  • Kenneth O. DevaneyAffiliated withDepartment of Pathology, Allegiance Health
  • , Daniel J. LaFeirAffiliated withDepartment of Pathology, Allegiance Health
  • , Asterios TriantafyllouAffiliated withOral Pathology, School of Dental Sciences and Dental Hospital, University of Liverpool
  • , William M. MendenhallAffiliated withDepartment of Radiation Oncology, University of Florida
  • , Julia A. WoolgarAffiliated withOral Pathology, School of Dental Sciences and Dental Hospital, University of Liverpool
  • , Alessandra RinaldoAffiliated withENT Clinic, University of Udine
  • , Alfio FerlitoAffiliated withENT Clinic, University of Udine Email author 

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Head and neck lesions composed of spindle cells evoke a differential diagnosis which includes a host of benign and malignant entities. One of the less common spindle cell lesions in this region is the inflammatory myofibroblastic tumor (IMT). Although IMTs were originally regarded as “pseudotumors”, they are now recognized to be true neoplasms. Local recurrence, and, rarely, malignant change have been reported. Currently, the definitive means of diagnosing IMTs is the identification of a rearrangement of the anaplastic lymphoma kinase gene (at chromosome 2p23) by fluorescence in situ hybridization. The histopathologic differential diagnosis includes infectious processes, other fibro-inflammatory lesions, lymphoma, the inflammatory variant of malignant fibrous histiocytoma, and sarcomatoid (spindle cell) carcinoma. Complete surgical excision is the treatment of choice.


Inflammatory myofibroblastic tumor Inflammatory pseudotumor Pseudosarcomatous myofibroblastic proliferation Plasma cell granuloma