Skin nonmelanocytic tumor
Vascular tumors

Topic Completed: 1 August 2012

Minor changes: 14 October 2020

Copyright: 2003-2020,, Inc.

PubMed search: retiform hemangioendothelioma skin

Christopher S. Hale, M.D.
Page views in 2019: 1,034
Page views in 2020 to date: 1,102
Cite this page: Hale CS. Hemangioendothelioma-retiform. website. Accessed October 29th, 2020.
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
Back to top
Image 01 Image 02