Gastrointestinal autonomic nerve tumor (GANT) is a specialized form of stromal neoplasm whose ultrastructural features support a myenteric plexus derivation and provide the basis for its diagnosis. GANT actual frequency, relationship to skeinoid fibers, and CD34 expression status are some of the controversial aspects of this entity. Out of 14 gastrointestinal stromal tumors gathered during a l-year period, six (42%) instances were diagnosed as GANT by electron microscopic study of at least five ultrathin sections per case. Additionally, GANTs were immunohistochemically investigated with a panel of nine antibodies including CD34. Ultrastructurally, every GANT case showed diagnostic findings and evidence of skeinoid fibers, whereas immunohistochemically all except one were CD34 positive. Immunoreactivity for neuron-specific enolase, synaptophysin, and vimentin was a common occurrence as well. In conclusion, GANT seems to be more frequent than hitherto recognized, skenoid fibers are a regular feature of GANT, and a positive CD34 immunoreaction does not discriminate between GANT and other non-smooth muscle, non-schwannian neoplasms.
- electron microscopy
- gastrointestinal autonomic nerve tumor
- stromal tumor