Can an angiolipoma become malignant? | Angiolipoma

Can an angiolipoma become malignant?

Normally an angiolipoma is associated with a very low risk of degeneration. This means that the probability of an angiolipoma developing into a malignant angioliposarcoma is low. Nevertheless, patients are advised to have their angiolipoma checked regularly by a doctor.

You can recognize an angiolipoma by these symptoms

An angiolipoma is recognizable as a firm lump that lies directly under the skin. Normally the nodules can be moved easily and are clearly distinguishable from the surrounding tissue. Due to their slow growth, angiolipomas are not noticeable at all for a long time, but the fat tumours eventually cause pain.

The pain is pressure dolent, which means that it worsens under pressure. This is why patients often feel pain when they move or touch the affected areas. But angiolipomas can also cause pain without external influence.

The other symptoms depend on where the angiolipoma grows. If there are nerve tracts in the vicinity of the tumour that are displaced by the growth, skin sensitivity disorders, tingling or numbness may occur. Very large angiolipomas can also visually disturb the affected persons.

An angiolipoma is permeated by numerous blood vessels, which are often thrombosed. This means that small blood clots have formed inside the vessels, blocking the passage. This hinders the blood flow and leads to a lack of blood supply to the structures within the tumour. As a result, the angiolipoma often causes pain or a feeling of tension. In addition, pain can occur when the surrounding tissue is pressed or displaced by the growth.


The reason why angiolipomas form is not yet known. It is believed that some people have a genetic predisposition that promotes the growth of these benign tumours. It is possible that certain metabolic disorders, such as hyperlipidaemia (high blood lipid levels) or diabetes mellitus (high blood sugar levels) have an influence on the development of angiolipomas. However, there is no scientific proof of this.


If a lump under the skin is palpated, a doctor, preferably a dermatologist or surgeon, should be consulted as soon as possible. The doctor will assess the lump by palpation. Angiolipomas are sharply defined tumours located directly under the skin.

The consistency can be soft or – if a higher proportion of connective tissue is present – also coarser. A criterion for the benignity of an angiolipoma is its displaceability: Angiolipomas are very well displaceable in relation to the surrounding tissue. Poor displaceability, on the other hand, indicates invasive growth into the surrounding structures and thus a malignant tumour. By means of an ultrasound examination (sonography), the doctor can further assess the angiolipoma, measure its size and estimate the extent of the tumour. In order to be able to differentiate between an angiolipoma and a lipoma, an MRI is made for the final diagnosis.