Schwannoma

This article was last reviewed and updated on December 6, 2018
by Bibianna Purgina, MD FRCPC

Quick facts:

  • A Schwannoma is common non-cancerous tumour that develops from a nerve.

  • It can occur anywhere in the body.

Normal nerves

Nerves are like long wires made up of groups of cells called neurons. Nerves transmit information (such as temperature, pressure, and pain) between your brain and your body. Nerves are found throughout your body. Some nerves are very small (like those just under the surface of the skin) while other are very large (like those that go to muscles).

Nerves are made up of different kinds of cells. Schwann cells are a type of cell that cover the outside of the nerve.

What is a schwannoma?

Schwannomas are a common tumour and can occur at any age and in any location in the body.  Sometimes Schwannomas can be associated with the genetic syndrome Neurofibromatosis type 2.  Patients with Neurofibromatosis type 2 can develop multiple Schwannomas. Schwannomas that develop inside the ears are called acoustic neuromas.

 

Other names for Schwannoma include neurilemoma and neurinoma.

  

How do pathologists make this diagnosis?

Under the microscope, Schwannomas are made of spindle cells that look very similar to the Schwann cells that make up a normal nerve.  When pathologists perform a test called immunohistochemistry on Schwannomas, the tumours stain strongly for a protein called S100. 

 

These non-cancerous (benign) tumours are usually surrounded by a capsule and are easy to remove by your surgeon. Because they are attached to a nerve, these tumours can cause symptoms such as pain or tingling.

 

There are several types of Schwannoma including:

  • Ancient Schwannoma - These tumours show microscope features of degeneration.

  • Cellular Schwannoma - These tumours have a greater number of Schwann cells inside the tumour

  • Melanotic Schwannoma - The tumour cells produce a black pigment which can be seen under the microscope

  • Epithelioid Schwannoma - The tumour cells in this type of Schwannoma are rounder or more oval than typical Schwannoma cells.

  • Plexiform Schwannoma – The tumour has a more irregular shape because it is made up of a network of interlacing tumour bundles.

 

A pathologist may make a diagnosis of Schwannoma after a small sample of the tumour is removed in a procedure called a biopsy. Or a pathologist may make the diagnosis of Schwannoma if it is removed completely at first, without a biopsy. 

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Copyright 2017 MyPathologyReport.ca

For more information about this site, contact us at info@mypathologyreport.ca.

Disclaimer: The articles on MyPathologyReport are intended for general informational purposes only and they do not address individual circumstances. The articles on this site are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the MyPathologyReport site. The articles on MyPathologyReport.ca are intended for use within Canada by residents of Canada only.

Droits d'auteur 2017 MyPathologyReport.ca
Pour plus d'informations sur ce site, contactez-nous à info@mypathologyreport.ca.
Clause de non-responsabilité: Les articles sur MyPathologyReport ne sont destinés qu’à des fins d'information et ne tiennent pas compte des circonstances individuelles. Les articles sur ce site ne remplacent pas les avis médicaux professionnels, diagnostics ou traitements et ne doivent pas être pris en compte pour la prise de décisions concernant votre santé. Ne négligez jamais les conseils d'un professionnel de la santé à cause de quelque chose que vous avez lu sur le site de MyPathologyReport. Les articles sur MyPathologyReport.ca sont destinés à être utilisés au Canada, par les résidents du Canada uniquement.