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Perivascular epithelioid cell tumor (PEComa) of the pancreas: Immunoelectron microscopy and review of the literature


Kenichi Hirabayashi, MD, PhD, Department of Pathology, Tokai University, School of Medicine, 143 Shimokasuya, Isehara, Kanagawa 259-1193, Japan. Email:


A perivascular epithelioid tumor (PEComa) is a rare tumor probably arising from the perivascular epithelioid cells. Only three cases of pancreatic PEComa have been reported in the English-language literature. The present report describes an extremely rare case of pancreatic PEComa. A 47-year-old Japanese woman complained of lower abdominal pain and a well-demarcated solid tumor was found in the pancreatic head. There was no history of tuberous sclerosis complexes. Pylorus-preserving pancreaticoduodenectomy was thus performed. There was a well-demarcated, solid tumor measuring 17 mm in the pancreatic head. The tumor was composed of a diffuse proliferation of epithelioid tumor cells with many blood vessels but no adipose tissue. The tumor cells expressed HMB45 and α-smooth muscle actin. Ultrastructurally, the tumor cells possessed many membrane-bound granules that were positive for HMB45 on immunoelectron microscopy. The results of immunoelectron microscopy show that some PEComas possess not only typical melanosomes or premelanosomes but also aberrant melanosomes.