Heavy Metal Bioaccumulation in an Atypical Primitive Neuroectodermal Tumor of the Abdominal Wall

Ultrastruct Pathol. 2015;39(4):286-92. doi: 10.3109/01913123.2015.1013655.


Heavy metals are able to interfere with the function of vital cellular components. Besides in trace heavy metals, which are essential at low concentration for humans, there are heavy metals with a well-known toxic and oncogenic potential. In this study, for the first time in literature, we report the unique adulthood case of an atypical primitive neuroectodermal tumor of the abdominal wall, diagnosed by histology and immunohistochemistry, with the molecular hybridization support. The neoplasia occurred in a patient chronically exposed to a transdermal delivery of heavy metal salts (aluminum and bismuth), whose intracellular bioaccumulation has been revealed by elemental microanalysis.

Keywords: Aluminum; Ewing’s sarcoma/primitive euroectodermal tumor; bioaccumulation; bismuth; heavy metals; microanalysis; scanning electron microscope.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Wall / pathology*
  • Antipruritics / adverse effects
  • Electron Probe Microanalysis
  • Heavy Metal Poisoning*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuroectodermal Tumors, Primitive, Peripheral / chemically induced*
  • Neuroectodermal Tumors, Primitive, Peripheral / chemistry*
  • Neuroectodermal Tumors, Primitive, Peripheral / genetics
  • Ointments / adverse effects
  • Oncogene Proteins, Fusion / metabolism
  • Poisoning / complications*
  • Pruritus / drug therapy


  • Antipruritics
  • EWSR1-FLI1 fusion protein, human
  • Ointments
  • Oncogene Proteins, Fusion