Skin - Nonmelanocytic tumors
Lymphoma and related disorders
Retiform hemangioendothelioma

Author: Christopher Hale, M.D. (see Authors page)

Revised: 12 October 2016, last major update August 2012

Copyright: (c) 2003-2016,, Inc.

PubMed search: retiform hemangioendothelioma skin

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Cite this page: Retiform hemangioendothelioma. website. Accessed March 25th, 2019.
Definition / general
  • Low grade variant of angiosarcoma
  • Usually distal extremities of young individuals
  • Weiss and Goldblum use term “hobnail hemangioendothelioma” for retiform and Dabska type tumors, which they believe to be closely related
  • Rarely multiple (Am J Dermatopathol 1996;18:606)
  • 2 / 3 recur, particularly without wide local excision
  • Low rate of metastases, no tumor related deaths (Am J Surg Pathol 1994;18:115)
Case reports
  • Wide local excision
Gross description
  • Lesion of reticular dermis and subcutaneous tissue
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Retiform (net-like, similar to rete testis) pattern of blood vessels that disperse through reticular dermis and subcutis
  • Vessels lined by monomorphic hobnail endothelial cells with scant cytoplasm and rounded, naked type nuclei
  • Often prominent lymphocytic infiltrate
  • No epithelioid areas or cytoplasmic vacuoles (Am J Surg Pathol 1994;18:115)
Microscopic (histologic) images
Images hosted on PathOut server:

Case of the Week #107:

Various images


Positive stains
Negative stains
Differential diagnosis
  • Angiosarcoma: may focally have low grade features, but also exhibits areas of marked atypia and pleomorphism; also dissects between individual collagen bundles and has mitotic activity)
  • Hobnail hemangioma: smaller, more superficial and more localized, with papillary dermal vessels that disappear into reticular dermis
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