Comparison of histologic features of small cell carcinoma (SCC) with large cell carcinoma: A large cell carcinoma of the non-neuroendocrine variety is shown in the photo below. It shows no features of differentiation to squamous or adenocarcinoma. Compare it with the SCC (B) with respect to each feature listed.


A. Large cell carcinoma

Cell size

Nuclear:cytoplasmic ratio

Nuclear chromatin


Nuclear molding



B. Small cell carcinoma































A. Large cell carcinoma

Cell size--larger

Nuclear:cytoplasmic ratio--lower

Nuclear chromatin--coarser

Nucleoli--present in many cells

Nuclear molding--none


Comment: Certain large cell carcinomas have a nesting or trabecular pattern, often with rosettes, that resembles small cell carcinoma. If these tumors are positive for one or more neuroendocrine immunohistochemical markers or have neurosecretory granules by EM and have a high mitotic rate, they are classified as large cell neuroendocrine carcinoma. These tumors apparently behave in a manner similar to that of small cell carcinoma and are treated in the same way (see discussion).



Table of Contents