Pathology dictionary

Pleomorphic

What does pleomorphic mean?

Pleomorphic is a word pathologists use to describe a group of cells that are very different from each other in either size, shape, or colour. For example, the cells in a tissue sample would be described as pleomorphic if some of the cells in a tissue sample were small while other were very large.

Why are pleomorphic cells important?

Pleomorphic cells are often seen in tumours. Pleomorphic cells are more likely to be seen in malignant (cancerous) tumours although they can also be seen in some benign (non-cancerous) tumours. Pleomorphic cells can also be seen after an injury in a group of reactive cells.

Pleomorphic is not a diagnosis

The word pleomorphic is not a diagnosis. It is a description of the cells seen in the tissue sample. This description will be used in combination with other information to reach a diagnosis.

Because pleomorphic cells look very abnormal your pathologist may order additional tests such as immunohistochemistry to try to learn more about the cells.

Another word for pleomorphic is pleomorphism.

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