Small cell neuroendocrine carcinoma with skeletal muscle differentiation: Report of three cases
Three cases of neuroendocrine carcinoma showing skeletal muscle differentiation are presented. The tumors were located in the skin and subcutaneous tissue, the urinary bladder, and the nasal cavity respectively, and were composed by two cell types admixed intimately with each other. One cell type had features identical to those seen in conventional small cell neuroendocrine carcinoma, including scanty cytoplasm, round nuclei with fine granular chromatin, immunohistochemical reactivity for neuron-specific enolase, chromogranin and cytokeratins, and electron-dense granules on ultrastructural examination. The second cell type was either plasmacytoid or elongated and straplike, with abundant eosinophilic cytoplasm and irregular nuclei with prominent nucleoli. These cells showed immunohistochemical positivity for desmin, sarcomeric actin, myoglobin, and myogenin. They also exhibited ultrastructural evidence of rhabdomyoblastic differentiation in the form of contractile filaments with abortive Z-band formation. An origin from a cell capable of dual differentiation toward neuroendocrine and rhabdomyoblastic elements is postulated for these tumors.