KMLE 의학 검색 엔진

You may have heard of 4 cardinal manifestations of inflammation (tumor, dolar, calor, rubor).

In this context, tumor includes ANY kinds of tissue expansion (e.g., swelling), regardless of whether it is proliferative or not.

Hyperplasia is POLYCLONAL proliferation, where it can be either reactive or adaptive to external stimuli, not mutational.

Neoplasm is CLONAL proliferation, either benign or malignant, and usually involves certain genetic changes.

Cancer is MALIGNANT neoplasm, either epithelial (carcinoma) or mesenchymal (sarcoma), and characterized by bad clinical behaviors (e.g., rapid growth, infiltration, metastasis).


In medical practice, tumor and neoplasm are almost synonymous because neoplastic process is far more serious than just fluid collection, and therefore, tumor almost never denotes simple fluid collection nowadays.

If the fluid collection is really serious, it is usually called by other names (e.g., anasarca, ascites, pleural effusion, etc.).

Neoplasm and cancer should be distinguished. However, once again, most significant neoplasms are cancers, and clinicians usually do not bother much on benign neoplasms. That's why they often use tumor as cancer when there is no room for confusion.


You will learn a lot of exceptions where some benign neoplasms grow infiltratively, metastasize, or even become fatal. Some cancers are so indolent that they are reclassified into benign category nowadays, also blurring the distinction between neoplasm and cancer.