Small cell carcinoma of the uterine cervix

J. R. Van Nagell, Deborah E. Powell, Holly H. Gallion, David G. Elliott, Elvis S. Donaldson, Amanda E. Carpenter, Robert V. Higgins, Richard Kryscio, Edward J. Pavlik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


From 1962 to 1985, 2201 patients with invasive cervical cancer were staged, evaluated, and treated at the University of Kentucky Medical Center. After a thorough evaluation, 25 cases (1.1%) fulfilled the histologic criteria for small cell cancer defined by Reagan and coworkers. These patients were computermatched for age, disease stage, and lesion size to 25 patients with large cell nonkeratinizing cancer and 25 patients with keratinizing squamous cell cancer. Morphometric analyses of nuclear size and maximum nuclear diameter were performed on all cases without knowledge of cell type. Small cell cancers were characterized by a nuclear area of 160 μ2 or less and a maximum nuclear diameter of 16.2 μ, which was significantly lower than that for large cell tumors. Thirty‐three percent of the small cell carcinomas stained positively for the neuroendocrine markers (neuron‐specific enolase [NSE] and chromogranin [CGR]), whereas the remainder contained only epithelial markers such as cytokeratin (CYK) and epithelial membrane antigen (EMA). Small cell cancers were associated with a high frequency of lymph‐vascular space invasion and a diminished lymphoplasmacytic response. Patients with small cell cancer had a significantly higher recurrence rate, particularly to extrapelvic sites, than the matched patients with large cell cancers, and their survival was lower. Clinical trials to determine the efficacy of adjuvant chemotherapy in the treatment of small cell cervical cancer are needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1586-1593
Number of pages8
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 15 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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