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Intravenous leiomyomatosis

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Intravenous leiomyomatosis (IVL) is a benign smooth muscle tumor of the uterus that grows within the veins but does not invade the surrounding tissue. IVL usually starts in the veins of the uterus and can extend into the inferior vena cava and ultimately into the right side of the heart, resulting in death The abnormal smooth muscle cells that cause IVL express estrogen and progesterone receptors and tumor growth thus appears to respond to these hormones. Although this is a benign condition, many affected individuals require surgery to remove the excess tissue in the uterus and heart. The exact cause of IVL remains unknown. IVL is rare, with only about 200 cases reported in the medical literature.[1][2][3]
Last updated: 11/1/2013


  1. Smooth muscle: Intravenous leiomyomatosis. Atlas of Genetics and Cytogenetics in Oncology and Haematology. March 2011; Accessed 11/1/2013.
  2. Wu CK et al.. Intravenous leiomyomatosis with intracardiac extension. Internal Medicine. 2009; 48:997-1001. Accessed 11/1/2013.
  3. Liu B, Liu C, Guan H, Li Y, Song X, Shen K, Miao Q. leiomyomatosis with inferior vena cava and heart extension. J Vasc Surg. 2009; 50(4):897-902. Accessed 11/1/2013.
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