Small cell sweat gland carcinoma in childhood

Am J Surg Pathol. 1998 Feb;22(2):215-20. doi: 10.1097/00000478-199802000-00010.


Sweat gland carcinomas are rare skin tumors that typically occur in older patients. The spectrum of their clinical and pathologic features is broad, and many different types of sweat gland carcinomas have been described, ranging from fairly indolent to highly aggressive neoplasms. We present two cases of sweat gland carcinoma with a predominant small cell morphology. Both tumors occurred in children. One lesion developed in an 8-year-old girl as an asymptomatic papule on her left forearm, which ultimately was evaluated using biopsy because of rapid growth and change in color. The other lesion occurred on the hand of a 12-year-old boy. Both tumors were pandermal and extended into fat. They were composed of monotonous cuboidal cells with scant cytoplasm that formed tubules and grew in anastomosing cords and trabeculae. The tumor cells were immunoreactive for cytokeratins but not for cytokeratin 20. Ultrastructural analysis (available in one case only) showed that the tumor cells lacked neurosecretory granules. This variant of sweat gland carcinoma needs to be distinguished from other small cell neoplasms of the skin, especially Merkel cell carcinoma, its closest mimic.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Biopsy
  • Carcinoma, Small Cell / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Small Cell / physiopathology
  • Carcinoma, Small Cell / ultrastructure
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Sweat Gland Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Sweat Gland Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Sweat Gland Neoplasms / ultrastructure