PMID: 2434904Oct 1, 1986Paper

Criteria for the diagnosis of primary endocrine carcinoma of the skin (Merkel cell carcinoma). A histological, immunohistochemical and ultrastructural study of 13 cases

A S LeongJ Milios


Thirteen cases of primary endocrine carcinoma of the skin (Merkel cell carcinoma) were reviewed with the aim of defining the morphological, immunohistochemical and ultrastructural criteria for diagnosis. The tumour cells were characterized by their scanty cytoplasm, generally small uniform nuclei with finely dispersed chromatin and multiple small nucleoli. Nuclear shapes varied from round to spindle, with larger and pleomorphic forms predominating in 2 tumours. A striking feature seen in 12 tumours was the occurrence of a "ball-in-mitt" pattern represented by 1 or 2 crescentic tumour cells closely wrapped around an oval cell. Staining for neuron-specific enolase was the most consistent marker of the tumour and the characteristic juxtanuclear globular staining for keratin and cytokeratin and the occasional coexpression of neurofilament set this tumour apart from other cutaneous neoplasms, in particular, metastatic carcinoid tumours and oat cell carcinoma from the lung. The fine structural features of note were striking paranuclear or juxtanuclear whorls of intermediate filaments, seen in 7 cases, the presence of variable numbers of membrane-bound dense core granules of 80-150 nm diameter in all cases and cytoplasmic spinous or m...Continue Reading


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