Pathology dictionary

Hamartoma

What is a hamartoma?

A hamartoma is a non-cancerous tumour. The tumour cells in a hamartoma look similar to normal cells. However, unlike normal cells, the cells in a hamartoma are disorganized and serve no functional for the organ involved. A hamartoma can be made up of one type of cell or several different types of cells.

A hamartoma can develop anywhere in the body. Hamartomas are more common in these areas of the body:

  • Lungs.
  • Gastrointestinal tract (especially the colon).
  • Breast.
  • Brain.

The type of hamartoma will depend on the area of the body involved. For example, a hamartoma in the brain may be made up of neurons (a normal cell type in the brain) but they are connected in a way that serves no real function.

While hamartomas are not considered cancer, they can still cause damage by compressing nearby structures, such as other organs, nerves, or blood vessels.

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