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Tumors of the chest wall are rare, and extensive surgery is often recommended. However, the anatomy and physiology of the thorax present two challenges to surgeons. On the one hand, the mechanical and protective functions of the thorax are based on the mechanical unity of the ribs, sternum, and spine; on the other hand, breathing, coughing, etc., are functional features of the same unit.

Considering these aspects, it becomes clear that any surgical intervention must fulfill two different and contradictory conditions. Stability can be achieved by the implantation of material offered by many manufacturers. However, it is difficult to replace resected structures of the thoracic wall in such a way that they are stable and mobile at the same time, especially considering the aspect of material fractures due to micro- and macro-movements.


An overview of tumors of the chest wall is given below:


  • Primitive neuroectodermal tumors (PNETs):

       Members of the Ewing tumor family and known as Askin tumor, highly aggressive


  • Rhabdomyosarkoma


  • Osteosarkoma/ malignant fibrohistiocytoma


  • Fibrosarcoma: infantile (benign) and adult type


  • Hemangiopericytoma


  • Langerhans cell histiocytosis (LCH): malignancy not clearly defined


  • Lipoblastoma: benign


  • Mesenchymal hamartoma: benign


  • Chondroma: benign


  • Desmoid tumor: semi-malignant


Claus Petersen, M.D.



Petersen, De Gruyter 2017

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