shadow cell

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shadow cell2016-11-14T04:06:12+00:00

shadow cell

shadow cell image from New Medical Terms

Shadow cell Medium power H&E stained section showing shadow cells

A pale lightly eosinophilic (pink) cell, often lacking a nucleus


Definition A pale pink, anuclear keratinocyte seen in skin adnexal tumours–e.g., pilomatricomas (image), cutaneous mixed tumours, proliferating trichilemmal tumourus, rare basal cell carcinomas, alopecia areata, onychomycosis, epidermoid cysts in Gardner syndrome, and dermoid cysts

Comment Shadow cells have distinct cytoplasm and borders due to an accumulation of keratin fibrils, and a central cleared–‘shadow’ zone in the centre of the cell where the nucleus was. Shadow cells retain a cohesive 3-dimensional cuboidal form and indicate immature hair matrix differentiation. In pilomatricoma, aka calcifying epithelioma of Malherbe, shadow cells are more commonly seen in older lesions where the characteristic basaloid cell component may be absent


Ghost cell, see elsewhere


Definition A nonspecific descriptive term that may be used for any cell that doesn’t stain by the routine–e.g., H&E–histological stains. 

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