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Am J Surg Pathol. 1999 Apr;23(4):431-6.

Benign schwannoma of the digestive tract: a clinicopathologic and immunohistochemical study of five cases, including a case of esophageal tumor.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Saint-Antoine Hospital, AP-HP, Paris, France.


We report five cases of schwannomas of the digestive tract. The patients were two men and three women, whose ages ranged from 56 to 74 years. Three cases arose in the stomach, one in the ascending colon, and one in the esophagus; the latter was a hitherto unreported location for this tumor. The schwannomas ranged from 2 to 11 cm in diameter. They were well circumscribed but not encapsulated, with interlacing bundles of spindle cells, nuclear atypia and no mitosis, interspersed with collagenous strands. Inflammatory cells were scattered throughout the tumors and a peripheral cuff of lymphoid aggregates was observed in all cases. Intracellular periodic acid-Schiff (PAS)-positive crystalloids were found in three cases; no skeinoid fibers were seen. A diffuse and intense positivity for vimentin and S-100 protein was detected in all five cases together with a variable and sometimes focal positivity for glial fibrillary acidic protein and neuron-specific enolase. None of the tumors showed expression of CD34 or the smooth muscle antigens tested. The four cases with a sufficient follow-up had a favorable outcome without any recurrence or metastasis. The morphologic and immunohistochemical features of digestive schwannomas were compared with those of other gastrointestinal stromal tumors. Schwannomas have many differences. Digestive schwannomas can be readily recognized on histologic and immunohistochemical examination. They are spindle cell tumors without epithelioid features, with a peripheral cuff of lymphoid tissue. Specific intracellular needle-shaped PAS-positive crystalloids are found in some cases, whereas skeinoid fibers are not. These tumors always express S-100 protein in a diffuse and strong manner, and they express glial fibrillary acidic protein but not express CD34. Digestive schwannomas usually are gastric tumors and have never been reported in the small bowel. They pursue a benign course and are far rarer than gastrointestinal autonomic nerve tumors.

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