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Solitary fibrous tumor

Solitary fibrous tumor

Mesothelioma - benign; Mesothelioma - fibrous; Pleural fibroma


Solitary fibrous tumor (SFT) is a noncancerous tumor of the lining of the lung and chest cavity, an area called the pleura. SFT used to be called localized fibrous mesothelioma.



The exact cause of SFT remains unknown. This type of tumor affects men and women equally.




About one half of the people with this type of tumor do not show any symptoms.

If the tumor grows to a large size and pushes on the lung, it can lead to symptoms, such as:

  • Chest pain
  • Chronic cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Clubbed appearance of the fingers


Exams and Tests


SFT is usually found by accident when a chest x-ray is done for other reasons. If the health care provider suspects SFT, tests will be ordered. These may include:

  • CT scan of the chest
  • Open lung biopsy
  • Pulmonary function tests

The diagnosis of SFT is difficult compared with the cancerous type of this disease, called malignant mesothelioma, which is caused by exposure to asbestos (as cancer needs to be ruled out). SFT is not caused by asbestos exposure.




SFT is usually treated by removing the tumor.


Outlook (Prognosis)


The outcome is expected to be good with prompt treatment. In rare cases, the tumor may return.


Possible Complications


Fluid escaping into the membranes around the lungs (pleural effusion) is a complication.


When to Contact a Medical Professional


Contact your provider for an appointment if you notice symptoms of SFT.




Kaidar-Person O, Zagar T, Haithcock BE, Weiss, J. Diseases of the pleura and mediastinum. In: Niederhuber JE, Armitage JO, Kastan MB, Doroshow JH, Tepper JE, eds. Abeloff's Clinical Oncology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 70.

Konopka K, Arenberg DA. Benign lung tumors. In: Broaddus VC, Ernst JD, King Jr TE, et al, eds. Murray and Nadel's Textbook of Respiratory Medicine. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2022:chap 80.

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          Review Date: 7/31/2022

          Reviewed By: Denis Hadjiliadis, MD, MHS, Paul F. Harron, Jr. Professor of Medicine, Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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