Three horses presented with variably painful, nonulcerated masses of the head or neck that were diagnosed as glomus tumours. Grossly, they were fleshy, pink to tan masses ranging from 0.4 to 9cm in diameter, involving either the deep dermis and subcutis or the subcutis and underlying skeletal muscle. Microscopically, neoplastic epithelioid cells were arranged in sheets, cords and packets within lobules. The neoplastic cells frequently abutted and formed nodular bulges into large endothelium-lined vascular spaces, especially around the tumour periphery. Large nerve branches were associated with each tumour. As determined by immunohistochemistry, the neoplastic cells consistently expressed α-smooth muscle actin and vimentin, and some cells in two of the cases expressed desmin. A laminin- or collagen IV-positive basement membrane was demonstrated around individual tumour cells or small groups of cells in all three cases. Morphological features and immunohistochemistry supported the diagnosis of glomus tumour, most consistent with the solid type in humans. Applying a classification system used in humans, two of these tumours met criteria of malignancy (glomangiosarcomas). One horse was euthanized due to complications associated with recurrence and treatment-related necrosis and secondary infection.
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