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Pathology of Balloon Cell


Dr Sampurna Roy MD              

Dermatopathology Case 109

Diagnosis: Balloon Cell Melanoma




Key features of Balloon Cell Melanoma:

- The tumour should contain more than 50% balloon cells.

- There are distinct areas of characteristic melanoma cells and prominent mitoses.

- Occasional intraepidermal pagetoid spread may be present.

- The main differential diagnosis is balloon cell nevus.

- The cytoplasmic features of the balloon cells observed in balloon cell melanoma resemble those noticed in balloon cell naevus, but the presence of nuclear pleomorphism, atypia, and mitoses and the absence of intervening stroma help distinguish balloon cell melanoma.

- Differential diagnosis: Microscopically, balloon cell melanoma also must be differentiated from other clear cell tumours such as clear cell sarcoma (malignant melanoma of soft parts), hibernoma, xanthelasma , sebaceous neoplasms, metastatic renal cell carcinoma, porocarcinoma , (malignant) granular cell tumour, granular (clear) cell basal cell carcinoma, clear cell syringoma , and atypical fibroxanthoma.

Dermatopathology patterns that remind us of something else

Related post: Clear cell carcinoma of skin

Further reading:

Metastatic balloon cell malignant melanoma: a case report and literature review.

Unusual balloon cell features in melanoma brain metastasis: a potential diagnostic pitfall in surgical neuropathology. 

Metastatic balloon cell melanoma: a case report.

Epidermotropic xanthoma mimicking balloon cell melanoma.

Glycogen-rich malignant melanomas and glycogen-rich balloon cell malignant melanomas: frequency and pattern of PAS positivity in primary and metastatic melanomas.

Balloon-cell nevi and balloon-cell malignant melanoma.

Balloon cell malignant melanoma of the skin. A clinicopathologic study of 34 cases with  histochemical, immunohistochemical and ultrastructural  observations.

Balloon cell melanoma: a report of two cases.   
Balloon cell malignant melanoma




Dr Sampurna Roy  MD

Consultant  Histopathologist (Kolkata - India)






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