Small Cell Carcinoma

  • Elisabeth Brambilla
Part of the Molecular Pathology Library book series (MPLB, volume 1)


Small cell carcinoma is defined as a malignant epithelial tumor consisting of small cells with scant cytoplasm, defined cytoplasmic border, typical finely granular “salt and pepper” nuclear chromatin pattern, and inconspicuous or absent nucleoli. Small cell carcinoma is characterized by extensive necrosis, a high mitosis rate, and conspicuous nuclear molding. The criteria of the definition of small cell carcinoma have not changed from the original World Health Organization classification to the revised ones.1,2 The definition is based essentially on cytologic criteria, and the most discriminating criteria probably are the chromatin pattern and the very high nuclear to cytoplasmic ratio (8 to 9/10) beyond cell size. Fortunately, the definition of small cell lung carcinoma (SCLC) did not change so that the literature on clinical behavior, molecular biology, molecular pathology, and drug sensitivity are still relevant. The only major change between the recent and previous classifications resides in the abandonment of the variant intermediate cell type of oat cell carcinoma, essentially because of a lack of clinical and therapeutic differences.


Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Small Cell Lung Cancer Small Cell Carcinoma Small Cell Lung Carcinoma Small Cell Lung Cancer Cell 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elisabeth Brambilla
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Pathology, CHU de Grenoble Albert Michallon, Lung Cancer Research GroupINSERM U578GrenobleFrance

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