Gastric schwannoma: a benign tumour often mistaken clinically, radiologically and histopathologically for a gastrointestinal stromal tumour - a case series

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Gastric schwannomas are rare mesenchymal tumours that arise from the nerve plexus of the gut wall. They present with non-specific symptoms and are often detected incidentally. Pre-operative investigation is not pathognomonic and many are therefore diagnosed as gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GISTs). Operative resection is usually curative as they are almost always benign, underpinning the importance of differentiating them from GISTs.


Three cases of gastric schwannomas were identified over a seven-year period. The clinical details and management were reviewed retrospectively.


There were two women and one man with a mean age of 62 years (range: 51–69 years). Two patients presented with bleeding and one with abdominal pain. The mean tumour size was 5.2cm (range: 2–10cm) and the tumours were resected completely following total or wedge gastrectomies. Histology in all cases showed spindle cells with a cuff of lymphoid tissue. Immunohistochemistry confirmed positive S100 staining and negative CD117 and DOG-1 staining in all cases.


We report our experience with these unusual primary stromal tumours of the gut and their presentations, preoperative investigations, operative findings and pathological findings are discussed. Operative resection in all cases has been considered curative, which is supported by previous series confirming the excellent prognosis of gastric schwannomas.

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