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Semin Diagn Pathol. 1996 Aug;13(3):184-203.

Soft tissue small round cell tumors: morphological parameters.

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Istituto di Anatomia Patologica dell' Universit√° di Padua, Italy.


Soft tissue small round cell tumors (SRCTs) comprise a heterogeneous group of neoplasms that predominate in childhood and adolescence and share similar morphological features, consisting of dense cellular proliferation of small round cells with a primitive appearance. Rhabdomyosarcomas, peripheral neuroepitheliomas, Ewing's sarcomas, and lymphomas/leukemias are the prototypic SRCT; other recently described tumors that should be added to the list are the desmoplastic SRCT and the rhabdoid tumor of soft tissues. In addition, several other primary soft tissue neoplasms and metastatic tumors have occasionally been considered in the differential diagnosis of SRCT. The precise identification of a given SRCT is important because of its clinical relevance. However, it may be difficult because the diagnostic criteria are sometimes subtle and several histologic and immunohistochemical features are not specific and/or may be simulated by different tumor types. We discuss the morphological clues that in our opinion are most useful for their diagnosis, the criteria for distinguishing between peripheral neuroepithelioma and Ewing's sarcoma, and the main diagnostic pitfalls.

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