Miscellaneous tumors

Small cell carcinoma of ovary, hypercalcemic type

Last author update: 1 December 2008
Last staff update: 10 April 2023 (update in progress)

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PubMed Search: small cell carcinoma hypercalcemic type

Nat Pernick, M.D.
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Cite this page: Pernick N. Small cell carcinoma of ovary, hypercalcemic type. PathologyOutlines.com website. https://www.pathologyoutlines.com/topic/ovarytumorsmallcellhyper.html. Accessed June 5th, 2023.
Definition / general
  • Mean age 23, range 9 - 43 years, associated with hypercalcemia in 2/3 which disappears after excision
  • More common than pulmonary type
  • Poor prognosis due to extra-ovarian spread (50% in stage IA die of disease); better prognosis if 30 years or older, normal preoperative serum calcium, < 10 cm size and no large cells (Am J Surg Pathol 1994;18:1102)
  • Often associated with surface epithelial tumor
  • Not associated with hyperestrogenic effects
  • May be of germ cell origin (Hum Pathol 1987;18:175)
Case reports
Gross description
  • Mean 15 cm (range 6-26 cm), solid, fleshy mass with hemorrhage and necrosis
Gross images

AFIP images

Fleshy cream-colored tissue

Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Diffuse sheets of small, closely packed round cells with scant cytoplasm, small hyperchromatic nuclei with irregular chromatin clumps, small but identifiable nucleoli
  • Cytoplasmic hyaline globules, follicle-like structures with eosinophilic fluid, frequent mitotic figures; tumor necrosis with perivascular sparing
  • 50% have large cells with abundant eosinophilic cytoplasm and large nuclei with prominent nucleoli; 10% have mucinous epithelial cells with intracytoplasmic mucin; no crush artifact or Azzopardi effect
Microscopic (histologic) images

AFIP images

Diffuse growth of small cells with scanty cytoplasm

Hyperchromatic nuclei

Growing in nests

Large cell variant

Follicle-like structures with eosinophilic material

Several mucinous glands

Signet-ring cells in basophilic mucin

Several glands lined by tumor cells, some with mucin

Cytology description
  • Highly cellular with poorly cohesive uniform small cells with scant cytoplasm, round / oval hyperchromatic nuclei, inconspicuous nucleoli and occasional mitotic figures
Positive stains
  • CAM 5.2, vimentin (50%), variable chromogranin, laminin, PTH-related protein and EMA (30%)
Negative stains
Electron microscopy description
Molecular / cytogenetics description
  • Diploid
Differential diagnosis
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