Where are granular cell tumors (GCTs) located?

Updated: Nov 12, 2020
  • Author: Vladimir O Osipov, MD; Chief Editor: E Jason Abel, MD  more...
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Granular cell tumors may occur at any site, but easily noticed surface lesions (ie, head, neck, trunk, extremities) are far more common than visceral lesions. Other aspects of location are as follows:

  • The tongue is affected in approximately 25% of cases; breast involvement is also common

  • All together, parenchyma, subcutaneous tissue, and dermis account for approximately 15% of cases; a third of those are in the parenchyma

  • Origin in skeletal muscle is rare

  • The lesions usually involve small- to medium-sized cranial or spinal nerves, although neurologic deficit is rare

  • Visceral involvement is encountered as mucosal or submucosal nodules in the esophagus, [8, 9] stomach, small and large intestines, larynx, bronchi, lungs, [10]  gallbladder, and biliary tract

  • The gastrointestinal tract harbors approximately 5% of all granular cell tumors

  • Central nervous system granular cell tumors are extremely rare [11]

  • Lesions can be incidental findings, or they may give rise to obstructive or pressure symptoms when large enough and in a critical location

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