Malignant tumors
Small cell carcinoma

Topic Completed: 1 September 2012

Minor changes: 13 November 2019

Copyright: 2003-2019,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Small cell carcinoma[TI] gallbladder

Hanni Gulwani, M.B.B.S.
Page views in 2019: 348
Page views in 2020 to date: 139
Cite this page: Gulwani H. Small cell carcinoma. website. Accessed May 30th, 2020.
Definition / general
  • Rare high grade neuroendocrine carcinoma resembling tumor of lung
  • Mean age 69 years, slight female predominance
  • 75% had local extension or metastasis at surgery
  • 50% had other coexisting neoplasms, usually adenocarcinoma (Am J Surg Pathol 2001;25:595)
  • Mean survival 11 months, range 3 - 25 months, 10 year survival is zero (Ann Diagn Pathol 2009;13:378)
  • No systemic endocrine symptoms
Case reports
Gross description
  • Mean 3 cm
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Sheets of small cells with hyperchromatic nuclei, finely stippled chromatin, inconspicuous nucleoli, nuclear molding, Azzopardi phenomenon (basophilic staining of blood vessel walls by DNA deposition), scant cytoplasm
  • May have minor component of tumor cells in trabeculae, nests or ribbons
  • Frequent mitotic activity, necrosis and apoptosis
  • Invasion of muscularis propria and perimuscular connective tissue in 90%
Microscopic (histologic) images

Images hosted on other servers:

High N/C ratio, high mitotic rate, nuclear
molding and negative RB staining in
tumor cells compared to intact staining
in adjacent endothelial cells

Cytology images

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Small round malignant cells

Positive stains
Electron microscopy description
  • Dense core secretory granules
Molecular / cytogenetics description
  • p53 (75%), p16 INK4a (33%), KRAS codon 12 abnormalities (17%)
  • No DPC4 mutations
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