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Other carcinomas

Small cell carcinoma

Reviewers: Komal Arora, M.D., (see Reviewers page)
Revised: 26 March 2012, last major update March 2012
Copyright: (c) 2003-2012, PathologyOutlines.com, Inc.


● Pure or combined with ordinary ductal adenocarcinoma
● Diagnosis restricted to cases having either pure or mixed with an adenocarcinoma component, where the cells resemble small-cell carcinoma of the lung (and elsewhere) histologically
● Serum PSA levels are often not elevated
● May cause Cushing’s syndrome, syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion
● Some have endocrine features
● Very aggressive, cannot monitor with PSA (unreliable)
● Survival usually less than 1 year (Arch Pathol Lab Med 1986;110:1041)
● Rarely associated with limbic encephalitis (Mod Pathol 1999;12:814)

Micro description

● Usually large number of apoptotic cells; otherwise resembles lung small cell carcinoma
● Typical features of small cell carcinoma, including high mitotic rate, frequent apoptotic bodies, crush artifact and DNA encrustation of blood vessel walls (Azzopardi phenomenon) are present

Micro images

Various images


Positive stains

● Chromogranin, NSE, TTF1 (Mod Pathol 2000;13:238), CD56 (Am J Surg Pathol 2008;32:65)

Negative stains

● PSA, PAP (Am J Surg Pathol 2008;32:65)

Differential diagnosis

● Large cell neuroendocrine carcinoma: extremely rare, described in case reports and in one small study; large and polygonal tumor cells with moderate to abundant cytoplasm, coarsely granular nuclear chromatin and prominent nucleoli (Mod Pathol 2006;19:1358)

End of Prostate > Other carcinomas > Small cell carcinoma

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