What Is a Necrotic Tumor?

A necrotic tumor is a tumor that has one or more areas of dead tissue, usually related to growth beyond the tumor’s blood supply, says the Free Dictionary. Some researchers believe portions of tumors turn necrotic when they’re deprived of oxygen, notes Japanese Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Necrosis refers to the death of cells, and until recently, it was thought to be an unregulated occurrence during which the cell membrane is destroyed, says National Center for Biotechnology Information. New data shows that it may actually be a well-regulated process activated by particular stimuli. Unlike another type of cell death called apoptosis, necrosis usually causes inflammation that may be involved in tumor regression in patients undergoing anticancer therapy. However, when a tumor is developing, excessive necrosis results in more aggressive tumors because the inflammation caused by necrosis can stimulate their growth.

Carcinoma patients with some types of tumor necrosis are more likely to experience less favorable outcomes, including recurrence of disease, explains Japanese Journal of Clinical Oncology. In a study of patients with urinary tract carcinomas, researchers found that necrosis tended to be more common in larger tumors. The presence of necrosis in a tumor may provide doctors with a tool for predicting how aggressively the tumor is growing.