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Granular cell tumor

Reviewer: Adriana Handra-Luca, M.D. (see Reviewers page)
Revised: 8 February 2013, last major update October 2012
Copyright: (c) 2003-2013, PathologyOutlines.com, Inc.


● Benign tumor of possible neurogenic origin, rare in trachea, with solid sheets of large ovoid cells with ample, eosinophilic cytoplasm, eccentric nuclei, and prominent nucleoli (Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol 1984;93:457)
● Luminal or secondarily involved; usually upper third of trachea
● Adults, children, may be associated with pregnancy
● May be incidental findings associated with lung and nodal tuberculosis, bronchial carcinoma (Orv Hetil 2002;143:239)
● Clinically appears as yellowish patch
● May rarely be malignant and invade retrotracheal space

Case reports

● 14 year old girl with benign granular cell tumor in ventral carina (Ann Thorac Surg 2005;79:e15)
● 20 year old man with hemoptysis, cough, pleuritic chest pain (Korean J Intern Med 2007;22:101)
● 21 year old pregnant woman with tumor at retrotracheal space (Yonsei Med J 1999;40:76)
● 45 year old woman with pulmonary tuberculosis and tracheal tumor (Pneumologie 2008;62:158)
● Woman with recurrent disease in subsequent pregnancies (Laryngoscope 2004;114:143)


● Resection (Laryngoscope 1992;102:807)

Micro images

20 year old man with hemoptysis, cough and pleuritic chest pain

Positive stains

● S100, neuron-specific enolase, CD68

Electron microscopy description

● Progressive cytoplasmic granulation of cells, with transition from "early granular cells" to fully developed mature granular cells (Arch Pathol Lab Med 1987;111:1065)

Differential diagnosis

● Hurthle cell neoplasm: may appear similar with fine needle aspiration (Diagn Cytopathol 2000;22:379)

End of Trachea > Tumors > Granular cell tumor

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