Contribution of Electron Microscopy to Understanding Cellular Differentiation in Mesenchymal Tumors of the Gastrointestinal Tract: A Study of 82 Tumors
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Eighty-two mesenchymal tumors of the gastrointestinal tract were examined by electron microscopy for the purposes of subtyping for diagnostic precision and of understanding cellular differentiation. Tumors were subclassified into leiomyoma/leiomyosarcoma, tumors of the interstitial cell of Cajal (equivalent to traditionally defined GISTs [Miettinen et al. Hum Pathol. 1999; 30:1213-1220; Mod Pathol. 2000; 13:1134-1142]), gastrointestinal autonomic nerve tumors (GANTs), and fibroblastic and myofibroblastic tumors, using criteria from the literature. Leiomyoma/leiomyosarcoma were diagnosed by myofilaments, attachment plaques, plasmalemmal caveolae, and lamina; GIST by processes or cell bodies full of intermediate filaments, solitary focal densities amid intermediate filaments, attachment plaques with incomplete lamina, scarce myofilaments, and smooth endoplasmic reticulum; GANTs by neuroendocrine granules, cell bodies/processes full of intermediate filaments (more rarely microtubules), and smooth endoplasmic reticulum; fibroblastic/myofibroblastic tumors by abundant rough endoplasmic reticulum, myofilaments, and fibronexuses. Seventy-three tumors (89%) were successfully subclassified, as 5 leiomyoma/leiomyosarcoma (6%), 36 GISTs (44%), 22 GANTs (27%), 10 fibroblastic and myofibroblastic tumors (12%). Results indicated overlap between poorly differentiated leiomyosarcoma and GIST, and between GIST and GANT. GANT is emphasized as a neuronal tumor identifiable by electron microscopy, and thereby distinguishable from GIST.
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