SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

Home Pagealphabetic serial listing  

Services on Demand




Related links


ABCD. Arquivos Brasileiros de Cirurgia Digestiva (São Paulo)

Print version ISSN 0102-6720On-line version ISSN 2317-6326

ABCD, arq. bras. cir. dig. vol.29 no.3 São Paulo July/Sept. 2016 



Rafael Dienstmann Dutra VILA1 

Marlise Mello Cerato MICHAELSEN1 

Karine Sabrina BONAMIGO1 

Nilo Luiz CERATO1 

Valério Celso Madruga de GARCIA1 

Patrícia da Silva PASSOS1 

Adriano Calcagnotto GARCIA1 

1Serviço de Coloproctologia, Hospital Ernesto Dornelles (Coloproctology Service, Hospital Ernesto Dornelles), Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil

HEADINGS: Gastrointestinal schwannoma; Mesenquimal tumor; Colorectal tumor

DESCRITORES: Schwannoma gastrointestinal; Tumor mesenquimal; Tumor colorretal


Schwannoma is a benign, neurogenic, slow-growing neoplasia, originated from Schwann cells, which are responsible by the myeline sheath on the peripheral nerves. This type of tumor is found more frequently on the central and peripheral nervous system and rarely occurs on the gastrointestinal tract1,2,4,5,6,8,10. Along with leiomyoma, leiomyossarcoma, gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) and others, it makes part of the mesenchymal gastrointestinal tumors group2,5,6,10.


Female, 74 years old, presented on the emergency room with a chief complaint of abdominal pain, nauseas, vomiting, prostration and dizziness with one week of evolution. She reported past history of diverticulitis and denied weight loss, hematoquezia or previous abdominal surgeries. During the physical examination, she complained of pain on deep upper abdominal palpation, although no abnormal mass could be detected. Proctologic examination and laboratory exams showed no abnormalities.

Abdominal ultrassonography showed a nodular solid heterogenic type image on the left flank, with 6.1x5.6x4.3 cm. Investigation with contrasted computed tomography detected an delimited intramural lesion on the transverse colon, without invasion of surrounding organs (Figure 1).

Colonoscopy, with exploration until the cecum, showed not only sigmoidal diverticulus, but also an intraluminal bulging on the topography of distal transverse colon, with adjacent normal aspect mucosa, suggesting extrinsic mass growth and lumen compression. Since the research for metastatic lesions was negative, extended left colectomy was performed, with ressection of 18 cm intestinal segment, containing a 5.6x5.0x4.8 cm mass, located on the transverse colon, beside the splenic angle. The pacient had a satisfatory evolution, leaving hospital on the 6th postoperative day.

FIGURE 1 Splenic angle mass: A) CT coronal slice; B) TC axial slice (distal transverse colon) 

The anatomopathologic analysis have highlighted a fusiform cell mesenchymal lesion, extending from colon submucosa until its subserous layer, with moderate cell nucleus atypia and two mitosis per 50 high-power fields, without evidence of hemorrhage or necrosis.

Immunohistochemical research showed positive results for kit gene products (C-kit/CD117) and for glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) and S-100 protein. The results for hematopoietic cells antigene (CD34), desmine and smooth muscle actin (CD117) were negative. This profile was compatible with a gastrointestinal tract schwannoma diagnosis.


Schwannoma represents 0,2-1% of all gastrointestinal tract tumors, occuring more frequently on the stomach and rarely on colon and esophagus , 1,2,4,5,6,9,10. The mean age of incidence is around 50-60 years old, with equal gender prevalence2,4,7,8. It usually manifests itself by abdominal pain, constipation, gastrointestinal bleeding, weight loss, but sometimes it shows no significant syntoms2,4,6,10. It is classified as a mesenchymal gastrointestinal tumor6.

The initial evaluation is made by computed tomography or nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) to determine location, size, density of the lesion and attempt to identify metastasis2. Colonoscopy usually shows unharmed mucosa and an insert image sugesting extrinsic compression of intestinal lumen. However, all mesenchymal tumors have similar colonoscopic image aspect, making it difficult to set an specific diagnosis. In addition, a colonoscopy guided biopsy is not always able to collect sufficient amount of tissue to ensure a correct diagnosis5. Thus, anatomopathological and immunohistochemical research of the surgically resected lesion is mandatory4,5.

Therefore, in case of dealing with a resectable neoplasia, with high probability of mesenchymal tumor, surgical approach is indicated, with wide margin lesion resection, without necessity of lymphadenectomy, since the risk of metastasis in those cases is very low1,2,4,5,6,9,10. Considering the higher prevalence of GIST, the majority of schwannomas is misdiagnosed, until histological and immunohistochemical research and differentiation is concluded4,5. Schwannoma presents significant cell pleomorphism, lymphoid follicles, rare mitotic cells and rare necrotic spots. GIST shows high mitotic index, necrotic and hemorragic spots, without lymphoid follicles. Leiomyoma, on the other hand, does not show any of those characteristics2,3,6. The most important immunohistochemical markers are CD117, CD34, S-100 protein, GFAP, SMA and desmine. Schwannoma is S-100- and GFAP-positive, but CD117- and SMA-negative. GIST is CD117- and CD34-positive, S-100- and GFAP-negative. Leiomyoma is CD117-, CD34-, S-100- e GFAP-negative. However, the latest is desmine- and SMA-positive, which are negative markers on schwannoma and GIST4,5,6,7 (Figure 2).

FIGURE 2 Mesenchymal tumor immunohistochemical profile 

The most important mesenchymal tumors prognosis factors, specially for GIST, are tumor size and mitosis index2. The less replicative and smaller is the neoplasia, the better is the prognosis. Radio and chemotherapy role in schwannoma remains uncertain; meanwhile, the recommended treatment is wide margin resection, without need of lymphadenectomy, mostly with excellent results 5,9.


1. Almeida MG, Hirschfeld APM, Farinha JCG, Roque MT, Ribeiro FLM, Mendonça PM, Volpiani JA. Schwannoma de Reto Associado à Doença de Von Recklinghausen - Relato de Caso. Rev bras Coloproct, 2005;25(1):64-66. [ Links ]

2. Friedman M, Nannegari V, Jones D, Valerian BT. An Unusual Finding of Colonic Schwannoma. Practical Gastroenterology. 2011 December; 56-59. [ Links ]

3. Hou YY, Tan YS, Xu JF, Wang XN, Lu SH, Ji Y, Wang J, Zhu XZ. Schwannoma of the gastrointestinal tract: a clinicopathological, immunohistochemical and ultrastructural study of 33 cases. Histopathology. 2006 Apr;48(5):536-45. [ Links ]

4. Hsu WH, Wu IC, Chen Cy, Chiang SL, Chen HW, Wu DC. Colon Schwannoma: A Case Report. 2009;20:255-259. [ Links ]

5. Hung HY, Chiang JM, Chen JS, Tang R, Chen TS. Schwannoma of the Colon: Report of Case and Review of the Literature. J Soc Colon Rectal Surgeon (Taiwan) December 2008. [ Links ]

6. Kown MS, Seung SL, Ahn GH. Schwannomas of the gastrointestinal tract: clinicopathological features of 12 cases including a case of esophageal tumor compared with those of gastrointestinal stromal tumors and leiomyomas of the gastrointestinal tract. Pathol Res Pract. 2002;198(9):605-13. [ Links ]

7. Liegl B, Bennett MW, Fletcher CD. Microcystic/reticular schwannoma: a distinct variant with predilection for visceral locations. Am J Surg Pathol. 2008 Jul;32(7):1080-7. [ Links ]

8. Miettinen M, Shekitka KM, Sobin LH. Schwannomas in the colon and rectum: a clinicopathologic and immunohistochemical study of 20 cases. Am J Surg Pathol. 2001 Jul;25(7):846-55. [ Links ]

9. Park KJ, Kim KH, Roh YH, Kim SH, Lee JH, Rha SH, Choi HJ. Isolated primary schwannoma arising on the colon: report of two cases and review of the literature. J Korean Surg Soc. 2011 May;80(5):367-72. Epub 2011 May 6. [ Links ]

10. Xu M. Gastric Schwannoma: a rare Schwann cell tumour of the GI tract. UWOMJ | 80:S1 | Summer 2011. [ Links ]

Financial source: none

Received: March 25, 2015; Accepted: May 05, 2016

Correspondence: Adriano Calcagnotto Garcia Email:

Conflicts of interest:


Creative Commons License This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License