Lipoblastoma is a benign tumor of immature fat cells. It is usually a solitary tumor which is exclusively found in infants and children mostly below the age of 3 years. However, sporadic cases of this disease can occur in adolescents and young adults. It is a very rare tumor of primitive fat cells, accounting only 1 percent of all fat cell tumors.The tumor is encapsulated with well defined boundaries.
Lipoblastoma is painless and may not produce any significant signs and symptoms. They usually develop in legs and arms. It may sometime develop in other sites such as mediastinum and retroperitoneum. The exact cause of lipoblastoma is not known, but it is believed to occur due to abnormalities in chromosome 8. Treatment of choice is complete surgical removal of the lesion.
What Causes Lipoblastoma?
Lipoblastoma is a rare tumor arising from embryonal fat cells. The term lipoblastoma was used for the first time in 1926 by scientist Jaffe. Lipoblastoma usually is exclusive disease of infancy and childhood. But in rare cases adults too are affected with the condition. It is primarily seen among children below the age of 3 years.
This benign lesion is observed more in male as compared to female. It can develop in any individual without any specific racial discrimination. The exact aetiology of lipoblastoma still remains unclear but it is believed to have some connection of genetic mutation linked on chromosome 8.
Signs And Symptoms Of Lipoblastoma
Lipoblastoma are encapsulated rare and non cancerous tumor arising from immature fat cells. Lipoblastoma usually are observed in children below the age of 3, but in rare instances may occur in adolescents and young adults. The growth is mostly solitary and located in the extremities and trunk. They are mainly observed in legs and arm and less commonly in other sites such as mediastinum (space between two lungs), mesentry and retroperitonuem (in abdomen cavity) of the abdomen.
The outer border of the tumor is well defined. The lesion is less than 5 cm in size and may be symptomless in most cases. However, some lipoblastomas grow rapidly and may impinge the adjacent structures producing symptoms because of its mass effect.
The associated signs and symptoms may be due to compression of the surrounding structures. For example a large sized lipoblastoma in lower leg may compress the fibula bone in lower leg causing bowing and thinning of leg. Tumor in the space between two lungs can compress the mediastinum structures leading to symptoms of breathlessness etc.
Treatment For Lipoblastoma
Although lipoblastoma is considered to be a non cancerous tumor, it may sometimes grow large enough to cause significant symptoms due to its mass effect. Thus the ideal choice of treatment is surgical excision of the complete encapsulated tumor. Once the entire mass is removed patient may be cured completely.
However, post operative follow up at regular interval is necessary as sometimes there is chance of recurrence of the lesion. The prognosis of lipoblastoma is excellent when the tumor is not large enough and can be easily accessible for its complete removal.