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.