Benign tumors
Granular cell tumor

Author: Elliot Weisenberg, M.D. (see Authors page)

Revised: 15 May 2017, last major update January 2013

Copyright: (c) 2003-2017,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Granular cell tumor [title] esophagus
Cite this page: Granular cell tumor. website. Accessed November 20th, 2017.
Definition / general
  • Also called Abrikosoff's tumor, myoblastoma
  • Most common site in GI tract for these tumors
  • #2 most common stromal tumor of esophagus after leiomyoma
Clinical features
  • Usually incidental, in lower esophagus, 90% solitary (Ann Thorac Surg 1996;62:860)
  • May cause obstruction if large
  • Almost all cases of Schwannian origin
  • Relatively more common in women in 40's, African Americans
  • May be underdiagnosed on superficial biopsies that lack lamina propria
  • Endoscopy: sessile, yellow-white, firm, intact epithelium
  • 1 - 3% are malignant (locally recur)
    • Associated with rapid growth, > 4 cm, tumor necrosis, increased cellularity, atypia, > 2 mitotic figures / HPF
Case reports
  • Local excision
Gross description
  • Intramural nodule(s), poorly circumscribed, up to 2 cm
Gross images

Image hosted on PathOut server:

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Contributed by Dr. Mark R. Wick

Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Identical to granular cell tumors elsewhere; sheets or packets of uniform epithelioid cells with abundant eosinophilic granular cytoplasm and small nuclei that interdigitate with overlying epithelium
    • Often pseudoepitheliomatous hyperplasia, which may mimic squamous cell carcinoma on small biopsies (J Surg Oncol 1980;13:301)
  • Often involves superficial lamina propria
    • May extend into muscularis propria
Microscopic (histologic) images

Images hosted on PathOut server:

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Abrikossoff esophagus, c/o of Dr. Oleksandr Grygoruk, Kiev, Ukraine

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Courtesy of Dr. Mark R. Wick

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Tumor fills lamina propria, AFIP

Electron microscopy description
  • Myelin like tubules, cytoplasmic processes surrounded by basal lamina in layers reminiscent of Schwann cells