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Solitary fibrous tumor

Solitary fibrous tumor (SFT) is a noncancerous tumor of the lining of the lung and chest cavity, an area called the pleura. SFT used to be called localized fibrous mesothelioma.

Causes

The exact cause of SFT remains unknown. This type of tumor affects men and women equally.

Symptoms

About half of the people with this type of tumor do not show any symptoms.

If the tumor grows to a large size and pushes on the lung, it can lead to symptoms, such as:

Exams and Tests

SFT is usually found by accident when a  chest x-ray is done for other reasons. If the health care provider suspects SFT, tests will be ordered. These may include:

The diagnosis of SFT is difficult compared with the cancerous type of this disease, called malignant mesothelioma, which is caused by exposure to asbestos. SFT is not caused by asbestos exposure.

Treatment

Treatment is usually to remove the tumor.

Outlook (Prognosis)

The outcome is expected to be good with prompt treatment. In rare cases, the tumor may return.

Possible Complications

Fluid escaping into the membranes around the lungs (pleural effusion) is a complication.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call for an appointment with your provider if you notice symptoms of SFT.

Alternative Names

Mesothelioma - benign; Mesothelioma - fibrous; Pleural fibroma

References

Haithcock BE, Zagar TM, Zhang L, Stinchcombe TE. Diseases of the pleura and mediastinum. In: Niederhuber JE, Armitage JO, Doroshow JH, Kastan MB, Tepper JE, eds. Abeloff's Clinical Oncology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 73.

Myers JL, Arenberg DA. Benign lung tumors. In: Broaddus VC, Mason RJ, Ernst JD, et al, eds. Murray and Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 56.

Review Date 8/21/2016

Updated by: Denis Hadjiliadis, MD, MHS, Paul F. Harron, Jr. Associate Professor of Medicine, Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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