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Mod Pathol. 1993 Mar;6(2):175-8.

Occurrence of melanin in pheochromocytoma.

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Department of Pathology, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City.


Melanin or a melanin-like pigment was observed in six of 19 pheochromocytomas. The intracellular pigment was Fontana-positive, bleach-labile dark brown to black material and distinct from coincidental hemosiderin and lipochrome. Ultrastructural components of the pigmented tumors include melanosomes and premelanosomes. Two patients with pigmented tumors had associated von Hippel-Lindau syndrome, and one had neurofibromatosis. The occurrence of melanin and melanosomes in pheochromocytoma has not been previously reported in the English literature. It is probably a reflection of the neural crest origin of this neoplasm.

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