Primary Extragastrointestinal Stromal Tumours in the Hepatobiliary Tree and Telocytes
The first decade of the twenty-first century witnessed the presence and light microscopic, immunophenotypic, and ultrastructural characterization of interstitial Cajal-like cells (coined as ‘telocytes’) in virtually every extragastrointestinal site of the human body by Laurentiu M. Popescu and his co-workers. Not surprisingly, stromal tumours, immunophenotypically similar to that of telocytes [CD117 (c-KIT) +/CD34 +], have also been sporadically reported outside the tubular gut (so-called extragastrointestinal stromal tumours, EGISTs), including the gall bladder, liver, and pancreas. A meticulous literature search from January 2000 to November 2015 have found 9 such case reports of EGISTs in the gall bladder, 16 in the liver, and 31 occurring in the pancreas. The site wise mean age at presentation for these tumours were reported to be 62.2 ± 16.6, 50.9 ± 20.1, and 55.3 ± 14.3 years, respectively. Six of nine EGISTs in the gall bladder were associated with gallstones. On pathological evaluation, these tumours exhibited prominent spindled cell morphology and consistent expression of CD117/c-KIT and CD34 on immunohistochemistry and variable expression of vimentin and α-smooth muscle actin. The biological behaviour of hepatic and pancreatic lesions was favourable compared to that in the gall bladder, following definitive surgery with or without imatinib therapy. While the exact pathophysiologic role played by telocytes in various organs is yet to be fully elucidated, there seems to be a direct link between these enigmatic stromal cells and pathogenesis of gallstones and origin of EGISTs, and a hope for targeted therapies. Furthermore, the possible role of telocytes in hepatic regeneration and liver fibrosis opens a new dimension for futuristic research.
KeywordsEGIST Gall bladder Gallstones Liver Telocytes
The authors would like to thank Professor Laurentiu M. Popescu for his inspiration and allowing us to use some of the figures related to telocytes from the Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine. The authors would also like to thank Professor Renu G’Boy Varghese, Department of Pathology at Pondicherry Institute of Medical Sciences, Pondicherry, India, for reviewing the cases and the tables in the manuscript.
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.
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