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Cutaneous Clear Cell Neoplasms: A Histopathological Reappraisal

Biswas, Asok MD, FRCPath, DipRCPath; Mahalingam, Meera MD, PhD, FRCPath

The American Journal of Dermatopathology: May 2012 - Volume 34 - Issue 3 - p 237–254
doi: 10.1097/DAD.0b013e3182106d28
CME Article

Abstract: Cutaneous clear cell neoplasms represent a heterogenous group of several primary and metastatic tumors with diverse histogenesis. Tumors with widespread clear cell change can seem strikingly similar under the microscope resulting in diagnostic difficulties. Although most cases are idiopathic, intracytoplasmic accumulation, artifact of tissue processing, and degenerative phenomenon have been cited as possible causes of clear cell change. An awareness of the various entities demonstrating this attribute, judicious use of ancillary techniques, and knowledge of the clinical setting are crucial to the accurate diagnosis. This review details the histological features of clear cell neoplasms of the skin with particular emphasis on the discriminating features.

*Consultant Dermatopathologist, Department of Pathology, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh, EH4 2XU, United Kingdom

Professor of Dermatology and Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Department of Dermatology, Dermatopathology section, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA.

All authors and staff in a position to control the content of this CME activity and their spouses/life partners (if any) have disclosed that they have no financial relationships with, or financial interests in, any commercial organizations pertaining to this educational activity.

Reprints: Dr Meera Mahalingam, MD, PhD, FRCPath, Department of Dermatology, Dermatopathology Section, Boston University School of Medicine, 609 Albany Street, J-301, Boston, MA 02118 (e-mail:

Copyright © 2012 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.