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Inflammatory myofibroblastic tumours: where are we now?
  1. B C Gleason1,
  2. J L Hornick1
  1. 1
    Department of Pathology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA
  1. Dr Jason L Hornick, Department of Pathology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, 75 Francis Street, Boston, MA 02115, USA; jhornick{at}


Inflammatory pseudotumour is a generic term applied to a variety of neoplastic and non-neoplastic entities that share a common histological appearance, namely a cytologically bland spindle cell proliferation with a prominent, usually chronic inflammatory infiltrate. Over the last two decades, inflammatory myofibroblastic tumour (IMT) has emerged from within the broad category of inflammatory pseudotumour, with distinctive clinical, pathological and molecular features. IMT shows a predilection for the visceral soft tissues of children and adolescents and has a tendency for local recurrence, but only a small risk of distant metastasis. Characteristic histological patterns include the fasciitis-like, compact spindle cell and hypocellular fibrous patterns, which are often seen in combination within the same tumour. Chromosomal translocations leading to activation of the ALK tyrosine kinase can be detected in approximately 50% of IMTs, particularly those arising in young patients. This review will examine the clinical, pathological, and molecular genetic features of IMT and discuss an approach to diagnosis and differential diagnosis.

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  • Competing interests: None declared.