Spindle Cell Conundrums in the Chest


Spindle cell proliferations in the lung and pleura range from benign easily treatable diseases to malignancies with very short survivals. The samples are also very limited in many instances, making immunohistochemical triage a priority. The lecture will discuss the most common spindle cell processes encountered in lung and pleural samples and offer a reasonable way to work up individual cases without using up valuable tissue.

Originally presented on February 10, 2019 in Park City, Utah.

Lecture Presenter

Henry D. Tazelaar, MD

Henry D. Tazelaar, MD

Professor of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology
Consultant, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology
Mayo Clinic in Arizona

Dr. Henry Tazelaar is Chair of the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at Mayo Clinic in Arizona, and he is a Consultant in the Division of Anatomic Pathology in Arizona. Dr. Tazelaar also serves as Chair of the Laboratory Medicine and Pathology Specialty Council. He joined the staff of Mayo Clinic in 1988 and holds the academic rank of Professor of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology.

Dr. Tazelaar earned his Bachelor of Arts degree at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and his M.D. at Rush Medical College in Chicago. He completed both an internship and residency in pathology at Stanford University Medical Center, followed by a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellowship in the pathology of heart-lung transplantation in the laboratory of Dr. Margaret Billingham at Stanford University Medical Center, where he subsequently completed a fellowship in surgical pathology.

Dr. Tazelaar’s work has focused on refining criteria used to diagnose the rejection of transplanted hearts and lungs. He is also active in identifying new pulmonary diseases and better understanding how systemic diseases affect the lungs and pleura. His observations have led to the identification of several new or unusual pulmonary diseases.

Clinically, Dr. Tazelaar is a surgical pathologist, a role that includes a large thoracic consultation practice offering second opinions on biopsy and cytology specimens. He is also an active educator, providing mentorship to a multitude of residents and fellows. In addition, he has taught in the Cytotechnology Program of the Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences and Mayo Clinic School of Medicine.

Dr. Tazelaar is a fellow of the American College of Chest Physicians and College of American Pathologists, where he is a member of the Pulmonary and Mediastinum Tumors Cancer Protocol Review Panel. He is active in many other professional organizations, serving on numerous committees and in leadership roles, including a tenure as president of the Pulmonary Pathology Society. He was also a member of the International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation groups that standardize reporting of heart and lung rejection. Dr. Tazelaar is currently Treasurer of the International Academy of Pathology and Chair of the Finance Committee of the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology.


After this presentation, participants will be able to:

  • Develop a differential diagnosis for spindle cell lesions occurring in the chest and lung
  • Apply a recurrence risk model for solitary fibrous tumors
  • Enumerate the important diagnostic features of desmoplastic mesothelioma
  • Prioritize an immunohistochemical work-up of spindle cell thoracic lesion

Sponsored by:

University of Utah School of Medicine, Department of Pathology, and ARUP Laboratories