Small Round Blue Cell Tumor Retinoblastoma vs. Neuroblastoma

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Professor, Consultant Pathologist, American Board Certified Pathologist, Fellow College of American Pathologists. Areas of interest Fine Needle Aspiration Cytology, Cytology, Cancer, Ethics, Islam, Humanity

Small Round Blue Cell Tumor Retinoblastoma vs. Neuroblastoma

Aliena Sohail, Lubna Naseem and Amna Imtiaz

Department of Pathology, Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences, Islamabad



In histopathology, a small blue cell tumor or small round blue cell tumors refer to tumors comprised of  “blue” cell with very scant cytoplasm. As nucleus stains blue and cytoplasm pink, these tumors impart a distinct”blue” appearance”. These cells at low magnification resemble mature lymphocytes which also posses scant cytoplasm. However are significantly larger than small lymphocytes and erythrocytes. Leukemia, lymphoma, poorly differentiated carcinomas like oat cells carcinoma and several other primitive tumors may give this picture on histology sections. These tumors can be seen in any age group.  1&2 Here we report a four month old female child with diagnosed primary lesion of neuroblastoma in the right eye (from an outside laboratory) followed by metastasis to the bone marrow within a period of three months. This was a very rare finding because only 3 cases had been previously reported of Primary Neuroblastoma in the eye and that too with no metastasis. The commonest eye tumor in this age group is of course retinoblastoma which can alo spresent congenitally as well as with metastasis. Immunohistochemistry of both Neuroblastoma and Retinoblastoma give same positivity to the same markers. Hence it is difficult to differentiate the two.

Keywords: Small round cell tumor, Neuroblastoma, Retinoblastoma


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