Archives of oto-rhino-laryngology

, Volume 239, Issue 2, pp 133–144 | Cite as

Esthesioneuroblastoma: Ultrastructural, immunohistological and biochemical investigation of one case

  • M. Vollrath
  • M. Altmannsberger
  • D. H. Hunneman
  • H. H. Goebel
  • M. Osborn


A case of esthesioneuroblastoma, the pathological diagnosis of which almost always causes great difficulties, was investigated ultrastructurally, biochemically, and immunohistologically, using antibodies against the five known types of intermediate filaments [keratin, vimentin, desmin, glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) and neurofilaments]. The tumour cells did not react with antibodies against any of the five intermediate filament proteins. Ultrastructural investigations showed dense cored secretory granules in the cytoplasm and cell processes. Thus, immunohistology offers by “exclusion” a differential diagnosis to avoid often misdiagnosed tumours (undifferentiated carcinomas, embryonal rhabdomyosarcomas, and malignant lymphomas), since carcinomas react with antikeratin, embryonal rhabdomyosarcomas with antibodies to desmin and malignant lymphomas show immunofluorescence with antibodies to vimentin. The biological behaviour (age distribution, tendency to metastasize), the normal values of biochemical parameters, homovanillic acid and vanilmandelic acid (HVA, VMA), and the absence of neurofilaments distinguish this type of tumour from the peripheral sympathetic neuroblastoma.

Key words

Esthesioneuroblastoma Intermediate filaments Secretory granules Ultrastructure Immunohistology 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Vollrath
    • 1
  • M. Altmannsberger
    • 2
  • D. H. Hunneman
    • 3
  • H. H. Goebel
    • 4
  • M. Osborn
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of OtorhinolarnygologyUniversity of GöttingenGöttingenFederal Republic of Germany
  2. 2.Department of PathologyUniversity of GöttingenFederal Republic of Germany
  3. 3.Department of Physiology and PathophysiologyUniversity of GöttingenFederal Republic of Germany
  4. 4.Department of NeuropathologyUniversity of MainzFederal Republic of Germany
  5. 5.Max Planck Institute for Biophysical ChemistryGöttingenFederal Republic of Germany

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