Pathology dictionary

Hamartoma

What is a hamartoma?

A hamartoma is a non-cancerous type of tumour. The cells in this type of tumour look similar to normal cells. However, unlike normal, healthy cells, the cells in this tumour 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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