Benign tumors

Granular cell tumor

Topic Completed: 1 January 2013

Minor changes: 16 December 2020

Copyright: 2003-2021,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Granular cell tumor [title] esophagus

Elliot Weisenberg, M.D.
Page views in 2020: 2,649
Page views in 2021 to date: 2,552
Cite this page: Weisenberg E. Granular cell tumor. website. Accessed October 22nd, 2021.
Definition / general
  • Also called Abrikosoff 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 40s, African Americans
  • May be underdiagnosed on superficial biopsies that lack lamina propria
  • Endoscopy: sessile, yellowish 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
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

Contributed by
Dr. Oleksandr Grygoruk

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Abrikossoff esophagus

 AFIP images
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Tumor fills lamina propria

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