The Pathology Dictionary Team
March 23, 2023

What does myxoid mean?

In pathology, the term myxoid is used to describe tissue that contains a large concentration of complex sugars called mucopolysaccharides. These sugars give the tissue a gelatinous consistency and make the tissue appear light blue when stained with hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) and examined under the microscope.

Myxoid. This picture shows a tumour with tumour cells surrounded by light blue myxoid tissue.

Is myxoid tissue normal?

No. It is not normal to find myxoid tissue in normal, healthy adults. However, myxoid tissue is a relatively common change seen in a wide variety of pathologic conditions ranging from degenerative joint disease to cancerous tumours. As a result, a diagnosis cannot be made based on the finding of myxoid tissue alone.

Does myxoid mean cancer?

No. Myxoid does not mean cancer. While some malignant (cancerous) tumours are described as myxoid, this type of tissue can also be found in a wide variety of benign (non-cancerous) tumours and other medical conditions. The term myxoma is used to describe a non-cancerous tumour made up primarily of myxoid tissue.

Are myxoid tumours cancerous?

Some myxoid tumours are cancerous. However, there are also many kinds of non-cancerous myxoid tumours. In addition to myxoid tissue, pathologists look for a range of other microscopic features such as mitotic figures (dividing cells) and cellular atypia (abnormal look cells) before deciding if a myxoid tumour is non-cancerous or cancerous.

Examples of non-cancerous myxoid tumours

Examples of cancerous myxoid tumours

  • Myxoid liposarcoma
  • Myxoid pleomorphic liposarcoma
  • Low-grade fibromyxoid sarcoma
  • Extraskeletal myxoid chondrosarcoma
  • Ectomesenchymal chondromyxoid tumour
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