Primitive nonneural granular cell tumors of skin: clinicopathologic analysis of 13 cases

Am J Surg Pathol. 2005 Jul;29(7):927-34. doi: 10.1097/01.pas.0000157294.55796.d3.


A rare subset of distinctive cutaneous nonneural granular cell tumors was described by LeBoit et al in 1991 and termed "primitive polypoid granular-cell tumor." Herein, we report our experience with 13 similar, distinctive nonneural granular cell tumors. Affected patients included 7 males and 6 females ranging in age from 5 to 83 years (mean, 25 years; median, 16 years). These cutaneous lesions involved the back (5 cases), neck, shoulder, thigh (2 cases each), chin, and elbow (1 case each). Clinically described as smooth, nontender cutaneous nodules, the tumors ranged in size from 0.2 to 2.8 cm (median, 0.8 cm) and were present from months to years before excision. Mitoses numbered from 1 to 6 per mm (median, 2). Eight of the lesions were polypoid, based in the papillary dermis with extension to the superficial dermis and associated with an epithelial collarette. Five of the lesions were situated deeper in the reticular dermis with limited extension into the subcutis but clinically were also nodular. All the tumors were well circumscribed and composed of spindled to ovoid cells with abundant granular, eosinophilic cytoplasm and vesicular nuclei with small prominent nucleoli. Immunohistochemistry revealed reactivity only for NKI-C3 (11 of 12 cases), CD68 (7 of 11 cases), and NSE (5 of 10 cases); S-100 protein as well as other melanocytic, epithelial, and myoid markers were uniformly negative. All 13 of the lesions were locally excised and in the 8 cases with adequate follow-up ranging from 13 to 126 months (mean, 68 months; median, 41 months), none has recurred locally. However, one tumor (case no. 11) gave rise to a local lymph node metastasis 25 months after presentation, but the patient is currently disease-free 70 months after lymphadenectomy. These cutaneous granular tumors do not appear to be neural or Schwannian in nature, but their precise line of differentiation is unknown.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Child
  • Female
  • Granular Cell Tumor / metabolism
  • Granular Cell Tumor / pathology*
  • Granular Cell Tumor / surgery
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Lymphatic Metastasis / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Skin Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Skin Neoplasms / surgery
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Biomarkers, Tumor