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Small Cell Carcinoma

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In small cell lung carcinoma (SCLC), the tumor cells are small (usually less than 3 times the diameter of small resting lymphocytes), round, oval or spindle shaped with scant cytoplasm and ill-defined cytoplasmic borders. Nuclei are hyperchromatic with finely dispersed granular chromatin (salt and pepper appearance). Nucleoli are absent or inconspicuous. Nuclear molding is a constant finding. Mitotic activity is increased. Necrosis is usually present.

Exceptions to the typical histologic features mentioned above do occur; occasional cases may have larger tumor cells with more abundant cytoplasm or scattered prominent nucleoli.

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