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Arch Pathol Lab Med. 1991 May;115(5):484-7.

S100 protein-positive sustentacular cells in malignant and locally aggressive adrenal pheochromocytomas.

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  • 1Lillian and Henry M. Stratton-Hans Popper Department of Pathology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, City University of New York, NY 10029.


The absence or presence of S100-positive sustentacular cells has been previously shown to be correlated with benign and malignant pheochromocytomas and paragangliomas. We evaluated a total of 17 malignant and recurrent or locally aggressive adrenal pheochromocytomas for their quantity of sustentacular cells. An absence of sustentacular cells was demonstrated in the majority of malignant cases, while the locally aggressive or recurrent group usually contained an abundance of these cells. However, in one malignant case a constant moderate number of sustentacular cells in the primary site and in two sequential metastases was found. We conclude that the absence of sustentacular cells in pheochromocytomas may indicate a lesion with a greater potential for metastasis and that sustentacular cells, when they are present in a malignant pheochromocytoma, are an integral part of the tumor.

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