Glomus tumor: An unusual cause of a lump in the upper lip
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Glomus tumors are rare, benign vascular neoplasms seen most often in the nail beds of the hands. We report a rare case of a glomus tumor presenting as a painless lump in the upper lip.

A 73-year-old male was referred with a three-month history of a soft, round, painless lump of around 1 cm, within the labial mucosa adjacent to his upper right central incisor. The patient had a history of adenocarcinoma of the lung, managed successfully with upper lobe resection and chemotherapy. He had peripheral vascular disease and COPD. Differential diagnoses included a mucocele, hemangioma, or salivary gland neoplasia. Histology of the excisional biopsy showed benign spindle cells and thin-walled blood vessels favoring a glomus tumor. On review, the biopsy site was well healed with no sign of recurrence. Unfortunately, further, follow-up was declined by the patient.

Glomus tumors arise from glomus bodies, which are arteriovenous anastomosis involved in thermoregulation. They are not to be confused with carotid body tumors, which historically shared the same name. Glomus tumors are classically found in the digits in the hands where the greatest numbers of glomus bodies exist. They are rare in the oral cavity, with few reported cases. The age distribution is similar between tumors of the hand and oral tissues, however, the strong female predilection seen in subungual tumors is not mirrored in oral lesions. Recurrence is seen in up to a third of digital tumors, although there is no available data on recurrence rates in oral tumors.