Tumours of the chest in children: A review

A van Niekerk, D Parris, K De Campos, W Wijnant, X Deadren, A Büchner, F Omar, D Reynders, R J Green


Tumours of the chest in children constitute an array of pathology and clinical symptomatology.  These tumours can be benign or malignant, cystic or solid, primary or as a result of secondary metastases.  Collectively, tumours of the chest in children are very rare, the exact incidence of which is largely unknown globally. Non neoplastic lesions of the lung including bronchogenic cysts, sequestrations, congenital pulmonary airway malformations as well as infective and inflammatory disorders are 60 times more common than neoplastic causes.1

A tumour of the chest is considerably difficult to diagnose since patients can be asymptomatic for many years before symptoms evolve.  Even more so, the symptoms are non-specific and can suggest more common and less sinister pathology.

Clinically patients present with a variety of symptoms that depend largely on the location of the tumour.  Airway tumours can be symptomatic or can present with chronic cough, wheeze, haemoptysis, atelectasis or persistent pneumonia.  Secondary malignant parenchymal tumours are likely to be symptomatic from the primary lesion.  Anterior mediastinal tumours can cause compression of the large airways or superior vena caval structures.  It stands to reason that the physician needs to have a very high index of suspicion when dealing with these non-specific signs and symptoms.

This article provides an approach to tumours of chest and reviews the common aetiology in the different compartments of the chest.  The article will focus on common tumours of the airway, lung parenchyma, mediastinum, cardiac and chest wall pathology. 

Authors' affiliations

A van Niekerk,

D Parris,

K De Campos,

W Wijnant,

X Deadren,

A Büchner,

F Omar,

D Reynders,

R J Green,

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children, tumours, chest

Cite this article

African Journal of Thoracic and Critical Care Medicine 2016;22(1):7-11. DOI:10.7196/SARJ.2016.v22i1.59

Article History

Date submitted: 2015-12-08
Date published: 2016-03-04

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