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Semin Diagn Pathol. 2000 Aug;17(3):216-24.

Immunohistochemistry of small round-cell tumors.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, University of California, San Diego, USA.


The term "small round-cell tumor" describes a group of highly aggressive malignant tumors composed of relatively small and monotonous undifferentiated cells with high nuclear to cytoplasmic ratios. This group includes Ewing's sarcoma (ES), peripheral neuroepithelioma (aka, primitive neuroectodermal tumor or extraskeletal ES), peripheral neuroblastoma ("classic-type"), rhabdomyosarcoma, desmoplastic small round-cell tumor, lymphoma, leukemia, small-cell osteosarcoma, small-cell carcinoma (either undifferentiated or neuroendocrine), olfactory neuroblastoma, cutaneous neuroendocrine carcinoma (aka, Merkel-cell carcinoma), small-cell melanoma, and mesenchymal chondrosarcoma. Their clinical presentations often overlap, thus making a definitive diagnosis problematic in some cases. Yet, a clear understanding of their clinicopathologic features usually allows for a confident diagnosis, especially if immunohistochemistry is used. The following is a review of the immunohistochemistry of this small round-cell tumor group.

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