Benign Tumors: Chorangiosis

  • Kurt Benirschke
  • Peter Kaufmann


With rare exceptions, vascular tumors are the only benign tumors of the placenta. Tumors designated chorioangiomas, chorangiomas, fibroangiomyxomas, fibromas, and the many other names that have been applied in the past are essentially similar, relatively common neoplasms of the placenta. Three large reviews have been published that bring together most of the literature. DeCosta et al. (1956) found about 250 case reports and listed all the synonyms applied previously. They also made reference to the frequency of hydramnios and associated fetal angiomas. Fox (1967), who also reviewed the often-confusing nomenclature, indicated that Clarke described the first such tumor in 1798. Since then, the review by Siddall (1924) encompassed 130 cases, that by Marchetti (1939) comprised 209 cases, and Fox traced another 127 cases. Fox accounted for 344 published cases and gave incidence figures of 1 in 9,000 to 1 in 50,000 placentas. When careful study of placentas is undertaken, the real prevalence may be as high as 1 in 100 pregnancies, according to some authors, although in our experience this number is excessive. Wallenburg (1971) provided 13 new cases and summarized publications between 1939 and 1970. His reported incidence in consecutively collected placentas was 1 in 117. These authors provided an extensive literature documentation that would be redundant to repeat. Soma et al. (1991) found that the tumor existed in 0.2% of placentas in Japanese women but was more common (2.5–7.6%) in the high-altitude population of Nepal. This figure is similar to the higher frequency of chorioangioma observed in placentas of women living at altitude by Reshetnikova et al. (1996). We have seen chorioangiomas associated with chronic vascular thrombi and elevated nucleated red blood cells (NRBCs) in the fetal circulation. Thus, an hypoxic stimulus is inferred to lead to excessive villous capillary proliferative stimulation. While still speculative, such angiogenesis may well be regulated by such vascular growth factors as demon-strated to occur in the placenta by Jackson et al. (1994). A more detailed consideration of the placental villous adaptation to hypoxia can be found in the contribution by Kaufmann et al. (1993).


Benign Tumor Arteriovenous Fistula Hypobaric Hypoxia Placenta Previa Fetal Circulation 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kurt Benirschke
    • 1
  • Peter Kaufmann
    • 2
  1. 1.University Medical CenterUniversity of California, San DiegoSan DiegoUSA
  2. 2.Institut für Anatomie der Medizinischen FakultätRheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule AachenAachenGermany

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