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malignant granular cell tumor

Friday 14 January 2011

Definition: Malignant granular cell tumor is a high-grade sarcoma with a high rate of metastases and a short survival.

Six histologic criteria can be be assessed:
- necrosis
- spindling
- vesicular nuclei with large nucleoli
- increased mitotic activity (> 2 mitoses/10 high-power fields at 200x magnification)
- high nuclear to cytoplasmic (N:C) ratio
- pleomorphism

Neoplasms that met three or more of these criteria can be classified as histologically malignant.

Those that meet one or two criteria were classified as atypical.
Those that display only focal pleomorphism but fulfilled none of the other criteria were classified as benign.


- 100% expressed vimentin
- 98% S-100 protein
- 98% neuron-specific enolas
- 69% CD57
- 65% CD68

Alpha-smooth muscle actin, desmin, epithelial membrane antigen (EMA), cytokeratins (with CAM 5.2 and KL-1), chromogranin, and HMB45 are not detected.

The proliferative index with Ki67 (MIB 1) is 10-50% in 56% of malignant tumors.

Immunostaining for p53 was detected in 50% or more of tumor cells.


Ultrastructural examination of benign, atypical, and malignant granular cell tumors showed engorgement of the cytoplasm with complex granules and lysosomes, as well as Schwannian features.

In a study by flow cytometric DNA analysis, two of six malignant tumors were aneuploid, two were hyperdiploid, and two were diploid.


Statistically significant adverse prognostic factors with regard to survival included local recurrence, metastasis, larger tumor size, older patient age, histologic classification as malignant, presence of necrosis, increased mitotic activity, spindling of tumor cells, vesicular nuclei with large nucleoli, and Ki67 values greater [corrected] than 10%.


- Malignant granular cell tumor of soft tissue: diagnostic criteria and clinicopathologic correlation. Fanburg-Smith JC, Meis-Kindblom JM, Fante R, Kindblom LG. Am J Surg Pathol. 1998 Jul;22(7):779-94. PMID: 9669341