Neoplasm and its Types


Neoplasm and its Types

The term neoplasm refers to an abnormal growth of tissue caused by the rapid division of cells that have undergone some form of mutation.

Neoplasia describes when these cells proliferate in an abnormal manner that is not coordinated with the surrounding tissue. These rogue cells (neoplastic cells) cannot be controlled in the way that normal cells can because they do not die when they should and they divide more quickly. As this excessive growth persists, a lump or tumor that has no purpose or function in the body is eventually formed. This is referred to as a neoplasm and it may be non-cancerous (benign), pre-cancerous (pre-malignant) or cancerous (malignant).

Neoplasm type - Benign or non-cancerous

Benign neoplasms are non-cancerous forms of tissue proliferation such as skin moles, lipomas or uterine fibroids. These neoplasms do not become cancerous. A benign tumor tends to grow more slowly than a malignant tumor and does not have the capacity to invade surrounding tissue or spread to other areas of the body (metastasis), as cancer can. The cause of benign neoplasm is often not known, but factors such as exposure to radiation or environmental toxins; genetics; diet; stress; inflammation; infection and local trauma or injury may be linked to the formation of these growths.

Many different types of benign tumor can arise in different bodily structures, but some of the main forms are described below.

  • Adenomas
  • Fibromas
  • Hemangiomas
  • Lipomas

Pre-malignant or pre-cancerous

Precancerous neoplasms are masses that have not yet become cancerous, but have the potential to do so if they are not treated. Sometimes, cells may undergo changes that eventually go away by themselves. However, other cells pass on mutations and new cells slowly become increasingly abnormal until they eventually become cancerous. The different types of premalignant changes that can arise are described below.

  • Hyperplasia
  • Atypia
  • Metaplasia
  • Dysplasia


This term is used to describe neoplasms that have become cancerous, as defined by the following distinct features:

  • Abnormal cell growth
  • Capacity to invade other tissues
  • Capacity to spread to distant organs via blood vessels or lymphatic channels (metastasis)

If left untreated, these cancerous cells continue to rapidly divide and multiply in an uncontrolled and abnormal way. The tumor becomes larger and may eventually invade surrounding tissues or spread to other distant parts of the body via the bloodstream or lymphatic system. If many organs or a vital organ such as the brain or liver is extensively damaged by the cancer, then death will occur. The treatments available for treating malignant cancer include surgery, chemotherpay and radiotherapy. Some of the main types of cancer are described below:

  • Carcinoma
  • Leukemia
  • Lymphoma
  • Sarcoma
  • Cancer of the central nervous system

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