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Am J Surg Pathol. 2000 Jan;24(1):107-16.

Cytokeratin-positive malignant tumors with reticulum cell morphology: a subtype of fibroblastic reticulum cell neoplasm?

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Hong Kong.


Cytokeratin-positive interstitial reticulum cells (CIRCs) have been described as a subset of fibroblastic reticulum cells (FBRCs) normally found in lymph nodes, the spleen, and tonsils. Although tumors derived form other reticulum (dendritic) cells, specifically follicular dendritic cells, interdigitating dendritic cells, and cytokeratin-negative FBRCs, have been well documented and are now accepted, this is not the case for tumors of CIRCs. A possible reason for this failure is the difficulty in distinguishing them from other tumors, particularly carcinoma. We report three cases of cytokeratin-positive malignant tumors with a reticulum cell morphology: two located in the mediastinum and one in the soft tissue in the proximal forearm. All cases coexpressed vimentin, and one case coexpressed smooth muscle actin and desmin, resulting in a phenotype similar to that of some normal CIRCs. Although metastatic carcinoma from an occult or regressed primary tumor cannot be excluded completely, we raise the possibility of a CIRC origin for these cases.

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