Cytologically Yours: CoW: 20131216

From Pathology Education Instructional Resource
Jump to: navigation, search

Clinical Summary

The patient is an 66 year old white male with a history of smoking, COPD, and diabetes. The patient presented with increased shortness of breath.

Past Medical History

  • Diabetes
  • COPD
  • Squamous cell carcinoma of skin

Past Surgical History

  • Excision of squamous cell carcinoma
  • Removal of adenomatous polyp of sigmoid colon

Clinical Plan

The differential diagnosis includes worsening of COPD. CT imaging of chest is performed.


  • CT Chest shows hilar lung mass and multiple mediastinal lymph nodes showing increased uptake on PET scan.




Other immunostains performed

  • BerEp4 Positive
  • Moc31 Faintly positive
  • Calretinin Negative
  • TTF1 Negative
  • Chromogranin Positive
  • Synaptophysin Positive
  • CD56 Positive
  • Napsin A Negative

Click here to toggle the diagnosis.

Final Diagnosis


  • Small cell carcinoma


The differential diagnosis includes large cell neuroendocrine carcinoma, and possibly nonkeratinizing squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma. In this case, we know that we are dealing with a poorly differentiated neuroendocrine carcinoma based on immunohistochemistry. In addition, except for the occasional nucleoli, this lesion has all of the features of a small cell carcinoma (scant cytoplasm, nuclear molding). In this case, the possibility of a poorly differentiated carcinoma with mixed large cell and small cell features may not be able to be completely ruled out on cytology of the pleural fluid. It has been determined that prominent nucleoli may be seen in small cell carcinomas up to 24% of the time (Khalbuss WE The cytomorphologic spectrum of small-cell carcinoma and large-cell neuroendocrine carcinoma in body cavity effusions: A study of 68 cases. CytoJournal 2011, 8:18. [[1]]