Prostate gland & seminal vesicles

Neuroendocrine tumors

Small cell neuroendocrine carcinoma

Topic Completed: 1 March 2012

Minor changes: 23 June 2021

Copyright: 2003-2021,, Inc.

PubMed search: small cell neuroendocrine carcinoma[title] prostatic

Komal Arora, M.D.
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Cite this page: Arora K. Small cell neuroendocrine carcinoma. website. Accessed December 8th, 2021.
Definition / general
  • 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 Cushings 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)
Microscopic (histologic) 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
Microscopic (histologic) images

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HE staining

Immunostaining for CD56

Positive stains
Negative stains
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)
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