Stanford School of Medicine

Surgical Pathology Criteria

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Mucosal Benign Epithelioid Nerve Sheath Tumor


  • Intramucosal infiltrate of S100 positive epithelioid cells lacking other neural elements

Diagnostic Criteria

  • Lamina propria expanded by an infiltrate of epithelioid cells in 5/6 cases
    • At least some cases have a spindled component
    • Some extend into superficial submucosa
    • One case entirely submucosal
  • Pushing to infiltrating borders in 5/6 cases
    • Surrounds and entraps crypts
    • 1/6 cases encapsulated
  • Uniform bland epithelioid cells
    • Eosinophilic cytoplasm
    • Uniform round to ovoid nuclei
      • No atypia, pleomorphism or mitotic activity
      • Frequent intranuclear pseudoinclusions
  • No ganglion cells or axons in lesion
  • No surrounding lymphoid cuff
  • Extensively S100 positive
    • CD34 positive in 3/5, described as supporting cells or lesional cells
      • Illustration appears to show lesional cells stained
    • Negative for CD117, calretinin, EMA
      • Soft tissue schwannomas usually calretinin positive
      • Only one case tested for EMA
    • No axons on SM31 (neurofilament) stain
  • All reported GI cases occur in the colorectum
    • Most are distal
  • 2-10 mm in size
  • No relationship to familial syndromes
  • Benign
    • No recurrence
  • At least one case of microcystic/reticular schwannoma reported by Liegl might be included in this group
    • 1/5 cases reported was intramucosal

Robert V Rouse MD
Department of Pathology
Stanford University School of Medicine
Stanford CA 94305-5342

Original posting : November 29, 2009

Differential Diagnosis

Mucosal Benign Epithelioid Nerve Sheath Tumor Mucosal Schwann Cell Hamartoma GI Ganglioneuroma
Epithelioid Spindled Spindled
No axons Very rare axons Axons present
No ganglion cells No ganglion cells Ganglion cells present
It is possible that Mucosal Benign Epithelioid Nerve Sheath Tumor and Mucosal Schwann Cell Hamartoma are related

GI Schwannoma GI Mucosal Benign Epithelioid Nerve Sheath Tumor
Most cases intramural Most cases confined to lamina propria
Peripheral lymphoid cuff common Lacks lymphoid cuff
Frequent pleomorphic hyperchromatic cells No pleomorphism
Spindled cells Epithelioid cells

GI Mucosal Benign Epithelioid Nerve Sheath Tumor GI Neurofibroma
Axons absent Axons scattered throughout
Very uniform infiltrate More heterogeneity in infiltrate
Restricted to colon Most are in stomach and small intestine
Epithelioid cells Spindled cells

GI Mucosal Benign Epithelioid Nerve Sheath Tumor GI Perineurioma
Abundant cytoplasm Scant cytoplasm
No association with hyperplastic crypts Frequently associated with hyperplastic crypts
Perineurial markers negative Perineurial markers positive
S100 positive S100 negative
Epithelioid cells Spindled cells

GI Mucosal Benign Epithelioid Nerve Sheath Tumor GI Leiomyoma (Epithelioid)
Most in lamina propria Most colonic lesions centered on muscularis mucosae
S100 positive S100 negative
Smooth muscle actin negative Smooth muscle actin positive
Restricted to colon Very rare in intestines
Most epithelioid leiomyomas reported in the past are now considered GIST

GI Mucosal Benign Epithelioid Nerve Sheath Tumor GIST (Epithelioid)
Centered in lamina propria or submucosa Most centered on muscularis propria
S100 positive S100 negative
CD117 negative CD117 74-95%
CD34 negative CD34 70%
Restricted to colon Most common in stomach


  • Liegl B, Bennett MW, Fletcher CD. Microcystic/reticular schwannoma: a distinct variant with predilection for visceral locations. Am J Surg Pathol. 2008 Jul;32(7):1080-7.
  • Lewin MR, Dilworth HP, Abu Alfa AK, Epstein JI, Montgomery E. Mucosal benign epithelioid nerve sheath tumors. Am J Surg Pathol. 2005 Oct;29(10):1310-5.
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