Esophageal pleomorphic giant cell carcinoma combined with small cell carcinoma


Hitoshi Tsuda, MD, Department of Basic Pathology, National Defense Medical College, 3-2 Namiki, Tokorozawa, Saitama 359-8513, Japan. Email:


Herein is presented the case of an esophageal pleomorphic giant cell carcinoma combined with small cell carcinoma (SCC). The patient, a 77-year-old man, initially presented with dysphagia and hoarseness, and endoscopy indicated a large esophageal tumor. Despite chemoradiation therapy, the patient died from widespread local extension of the tumor and distant metastases approximately 8 months after onset of the symptoms. Histologically, the primary tumor was composed of pleomorphic tumor components, SCC components, and a tiny focus of squamous cell carcinoma. The pleomorphic tumor cells, consisting of solid sheets of poorly cohesive epithelioid cells and numerous multinucleated giant cells with abundant eosinophilic cytoplasm, were immunohistochemically positive for vimentin and desmin, with scattered positivity for epithelial membrane antigen (EMA) and neuron-specific enolase (NSE), but negative for myoglobin. These findings were histopathologically compatible with pleomorphic giant cell carcinoma occurring at other sites such as the lung. SCC cells, morphologically similar to their pulmonary counterpart, were positive for EMA and some neuroendocrine markers such as chromogranin A and NSE, and occasionally positive for vimentin and desmin. Esophageal pleomorphic giant cell carcinoma can occur in close association with SCC, and should be included in the differential diagnosis of esophageal tumors showing pleomorphism.