Glomus tumor is a rare vascular tumor originating from glomus bodies. Although most of glomus tumors occur in the distal extremities, this can also occur in any part of body. In the gastrointestinal tract, glomus tumors are most commonly located in the stomach and present as submucosal tumors. Although glomus tumors are generally benign in nature, several malignant cases have been reported.[3,4,5] Most of the gastric glomus tumors are asymptomatic and are incidentally discovered; sometimes it may present with gastrointestinal hemorrhage and abdominal pain. Many glomus tumors of the stomach, however, are misdiagnosed as other mesenchymal tumors, such as gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs) and leiomyomas. Therefore, it is of paramount importance to accurately preoperative diagnose gastric glomus tumors. Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) is a useful imaging technique for diagnosing the gastric submucosal tumors,[7,8,9] but only a few case reports have been published regarding the characteristics of gastric glomus tumors.
Surgical resection is a curable treatment for gastric glomus tumor. With the development of endoscopic equipment, endoscopic methods, such as endoscopic submucosal dissection (ESD) and endoscopic full-thickness resection (EFTR), have been widely used for gastric submucosal tumors. However, there were few articles regarding endoscopic resection of gastric glomus tumors, which might be due to its vascular nature. Thus, our aim is to describe the typical EUS features and endoscopic resection of gastric glomus tumors.
PATIENTS AND METHODS
A database of all patients with gastric glomus tumor who were treated at Shengjing Hospital of China Medical University between March 2011 and March 2017 was retrospectively analyzed.
At the same time, we reviewed the EUS characteristics of GISTs, leiomyomas, ectopic pancreas, and schwannomas in patients. The EUS characteristics and patients’ clinical data as well as their treatment were reviewed. The study was approved by the Ethics Committee of China Medical University and all the patients signed written informed consent.
All EUS procedures were performed with a linear scanning ultrasound endoscope. A single experienced endosonographer reviewed all the EUS images. The following features were recorded: location, the presence of mucosal ulceration, shape, original layer, echogenicity, the presence of marginal halos, cystic change, and calcification. At the same time, we compared EUS characteristics with that of GISTs, leiomyomas, schwannomas, and ectopic pancreas.
All ESD procedures were performed with propofol sedation and continuous cardiorespiratory monitoring. ESD was performed as follows: the circumferential of the tumor was marked by argon plasma coagulation (APC), and then, a cushion was made by injection of a mixed solution consisting of 100-mL saline and 1-mL indigo carmine. After the mucosa incision was made, dissection of the tumor was made. The hemostasis was performed by electric cautery or APC.
The peritumor gastric tissues were incised, and then, the tumor and peritumor gastric tissues were gradually resected in full thickness and electric cautery was used for hemostasis. Then, the tumor was completely removed. Metallic clips or over-the-scope clip was used to close the iatrogenic perforation.
Laparoscopic resection and surgical resection
Laparoscopic resection and surgical resection were performed as previously reported.
Patients were suggested for the follow-up at 1, 3, 6, and 12 months after resection and annually thereafter to observe the wound healing and any residual tumor or recurrence.
Clinical data of patients
The clinical data for 11 patients (3 male and 8 female patients) were included in the present study and were summarized in Table 1. The patients’ age ranged from 37 to 62 years (mean age, 50.1 years). Seven patients had epigastric discomfort, two patients had abdominal pain, one patient had abdominal distension, and one patient presented as upper gastrointestinal bleeding.
The characteristics of the lesion and EUS findings
Ten patients received EUS. The EUS characteristics of 10 patients with gastric glomus tumors was presented in Table 1. Nine lesions were located in antrum and two tumors were found in the gastric body. All the lesions presented as a submucosal tumor and one lesion had an ulcer on its surface (Figure 1), leading to hemorrhage. The maximum size of tumors ranged from 10 to 35 mm with mean size being 19 mm. Nine lesions were from fourth layer, and one lesion was from third and fourth layers. Eight lesions were presented with mild-hyperechoic round or oval mass (Figure 2); one lesion was mild-hyperechoic oval mass with hypoechoic spots; one lesion was hypoechoic oval mass with a clear border. Ten patients with gastric GISTs located in gastric antrum, 10 patients with gastric leiomyoma located in gastric antrum. 10 patients with gastric schwannoma located in gastric antrum, and 10 patients with gastric ectopic pancreas located in gastric antrum were randomly selected. The EUS features of gastric glomus tumors were compared with that of gastric GISTs, leiomyoma, schwannoma, and ectopic pancreas, as shown in Table 2. The typical EUS feature of gastric glomus tumor is a triad: antrum; round or oval; mild-hyperechoic lesion from fourth layer.
The clinical data of 11 patients with gastric glomus tumor
|No.||Age/Sex||Symptom||Size of tumor (mm)||Location||Endoscopic appearance||EUS layer||EUS appearance|
|1||38/male||Abdominal pain||19||Greater curvature of antrum||SMT||Fourth||Mild-hyperechoic round mass|
|2||62/female||Abdominal discomfort||10||Greater curvature of gastric body||SMT||Fourth||Mild-hyperechoic round mass|
|3||56/female||Abdominal discomfort||11||Anterior wall of antrum||SMT||Fourth||Hypoechoic oval mass|
|4||52/female||Abdominal pain||27||Posterior wall of antrum||SMT||Fourth||Mild-hyperechoic oval mass|
|5||59/female||Abdominal discomfort||27||Posterior wall of antrum||SMT||Fourth||Mild-hyperechoic round mass|
|6||48/female||UGH||35||Gastric body||SMT with a ulcer on the surface||Third, Fourth||Mild-hyperechoic oval mass with hypoechoic spots|
|7||47/female||Abdominal discomfort||12||Greater curvature of antrum||SMT||Fourth||Mild-hyperechoic round mass|
|8||56/male||Abdominal distension||28||Greater curvature of antrum||SMT||Fourth||Mild-hyperechoic oval mass|
|9||50/male||Abdominal discomfort||27||Greater curvature of antrum||SMT||-||-|
|10||37/female||Abdominal discomfort||22||Anterior wall of antrum||SMT||Fourth||Mild-hyperechoic round mass|
|11||46/female||Abdominal discomfort||20||Greater curvature of antrum||SMT||Fourth||Mild-hyperechoic round mass|
The EUS features of gastric glomus tumors were compared with those of gastric GISTs, leiomyoma, schwannoma, and ectopic pancreas
|Tumor type (case number)||Mean size (range), mm||Layer||Shape||Echogenicity||Marginal halo||Cystic change||Calcification|
|Glomus tumor (10)||19(10–35)||Nine lesions were from fourth layer; one lesion was from third, fourth layer||Ten lesions were round or oval shape||Nine lesions were mild-hyperechoic; one lesion was hypoechoic||No||One lesion had cystic change||No|
|GIST (10)||18(12–42)||Ten lesions were from fourth layer||Ten lesions were oval shape||Hypoechoic||No||No||3 lesions had calcification|
|Leiomyoma (10)||14(10–36)||Ten lesions were from fourth layer||Ten lesions were oval shape||Hypoechoic||No||No||No|
|Schwannoma (10)||18(12–25)||Ten lesions were from fourth layer||Ten lesions were oval shape||Hypoechoic||Four lesions had marginal halo||No||No|
|Ectopic pancreas (10)||13(8–23)||Nine lesions were from third layer; one lesion was from third, fourth layer||Eight lesions were flat shape; two lesions were oval shape||Mixed-echoic||No||No||No|
One patient received EFTR; three patients were treated by ESD, and laparoscopic resection was performed for seven patients. Complete resection was performed in all the patients. No complications, such as delayed perforation and hemorrhage, occurred in any patients. Nine patients had the pathology of glomus tumor; two patients had pathology of glomus tumor with uncertain malignant potential, as shown in Table 3.
The treatment of 11 patients with glomus tumor of the stomach
|No||Treatment||Patology||Postoperative bleeding||Postoperative perforation||Recurrence||Follow-up, month|
|6||Laparoscopy||Glomus tumor with uncertain malignant potential||No||No||No||18|
|8||Laparoscopy||Glomus tumor with uncertain malignant potential||No||No||No||24|
No recurrence or metastases were found in all patients during the follow-up period at a median follow-up time of 32 months (range, 3–62 months).
Gastric glomus tumors are rare with a significant female dominance. Most of the gastric glomus tumor are located in antrum. We got similar results as previously reported. Patients with gastric glomus tumor can present different symptoms, such as abdominal discomfort or pain, and gastric glomus tumor is one of rare causes of gastrointestinal hemorrhage.[11,12,13,14] One patient (1/11) presented with upper gastrointestinal bleeding in our report.
Preoperative diagnosis of gastric glomus tumor is the key point for the treatment. Glomus tumors, GISTs, schwannomas, and neuro-endocrine tumors, however, exhibit similar findings on computed tomography, making it difficult to differentiate glomus tumor from other tumors.[15,16,17,18] Moreover, some cases of glomus tumor of the stomach do not show the typical characteristics on CT. With EUS being widely used,[19,20,21] EUS is of great importance for differential diagnosis of gastric submucosal tumor. In our report, the typical EUS features of glomus tumor of the stomach can be listed as follows: the lesion is located in antrum; its shape is round or oval on EUS; it is a mild-hyperechoic lesion from fourth layer. Hu et al. reported that gastric glomus tumors were oval (n = 4) and round (n = 6) in shape. The mild-hyperechogenicity may be due to its vascular nature. Yan et al. reported that Doppler EUS showed a prominent vascular signal in gastric glomus tumor. The typical EUS features of glomus tumor of the stomach were described in some reports.[6, 24,25,26] Nine patients (9/11) were presented with typical EUS features. Two lesions did not have the typical EUS features. One lesion was hypoechoic and one lesion was from third and fourth layer. Compared with other common gastric submucosal tumor, such as GISTs, leiomyoma, ectopic pancreas, and schwannoma, the typical EUS features of glomus tumor of the stomach can make the differential diagnosis. Some gastric glomus tumor with atypical EUS features is still difficult to differentiate on EUS. EUS elastography and contrast-enhanced EUS can provide more information.[27,28,29,30,31] In addition, endoscopic ultrasound guided fine needle aspiration (EUS-FNA) can help in diagnosis.[32,33,34] Although glomus tumor is a vascular lesion, it is safe to perform EUS-FNA. No complications, such as bleeding, happen. Few reports had demonstrated that gastric glomus tumor could be diagnosed by EUS-FNA.[10, 35,36,37,38,39]
Glomus tumors are mesenchymal tumors with malignant potential.[40,41,42] Although most of glomus tumor of stomach are benign, some malignant cases have been reported. [3,4,5, 43] In our study, there were two patients diagnosed with glomus tumor with uncertain malignant potential. So resection is the only curative therapy with a favorable prognosis for benign glomus tumor.
Traditionally, surgery is the first choice of treatment for gastric glomus tumor.[25, 44, 45] Endoscopic resection, such as ESD and EFTR, are being increasingly used in treating gastric submucosal tumors.[46,47,48] However, to the best of our knowledge, there is rare report that gastric glomus tumor was treated by endoscopic resection, which may be due to its rarity and its vascular nature. Four patients in our study were treated by ESD or EFTR, and there was no fatal bleeding. During the follow-up, there was no residual tumor and no recurrence.
The typical EUS feature of glomus tumor of the stomach is that a round or an oval mild-hyperechoic lesion originating from fourth layer is located in antrum. Endoscopic resection is a safe and effective treatment of choice for gastric glomus tumor.
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