Also found in: Encyclopedia.
a short, bluntly spindle-shaped cell that contains a relatively large, hyperchromatic nucleus, frequently observed in some forms of undifferentiated bronchogenic carcinoma.
Synonym(s): oat cell
small cellA 9–14-µm-diameter cell, with a faint or indistinct rim of cytoplasm and an oval-to-elongated nucleus with relatively dense chromatin. Small cells are “classically” poorly differentiated or undifferentiated neuroendocrine, which is confirmed by presence of cytokeratin and synaptophysin, and/or chromogranin; when a vague “crease” in the nucleus is also present, the descriptor “oat cell” was used in the past, a distinction of uncertain value. Small cells are seen in small-cell carcinomas, which are most common in lungs but also occur in bladder, breast, cervix, ovary, endometrium and nasopharynx.
Non-epithelial lesions with small cells include sarcomas (Ewing sarcoma, rhabdomyosarcoma of alveolar and embryonal types, granulocytic sarcoma, reticulum cell sarcoma and liposarcoma), Wilms’ tumour, neuroblastoma, lymphoma and plasmacytoma.
small cellOncology A 9-14 µm in diameter cell with a faint or indistinct rim of cytoplasm, and an oval-to-elongated nucleus with relatively dense chromatin; SCs are 'classically' neuroendocrine–confirmed by presence of cytokeratin and secretory granules; when a vague 'crease' in the nucleus is also present, the descriptor 'oat cell' may be used; SCs occur in small cell carcinomas (duh!), common in lungs, but also occur in bladder, breast, cervix, endometrium, nasopharynx. See Small cell carcinoma.
small cell(smawl sel)
A short, blunt, spindle-shaped cell that contains a relatively large hyperchromatic nucleus; frequently observed in some forms of undifferentiated bronchogenic carcinoma.