To schedule an appointment, please call 720-699-8416
COVID-19 Update: We are OPEN! Click here to find out how we are keeping you safe: Learn More >

How To Spot A Granular Cell Tumor in the Mouth

How To Spot A Granular Cell Tumor in the Mouth
Author: Posted: November 7th, 2021 Category:

Granular cell tumors sound scary, but what exactly are they? And how can you spot one in your mouth?

If you’ve ever accidentally bitten the inside of your lip or cheek, you’ve probably noticed that a bump or lump develops soon after. While these lumps can be painful, they generally aren’t a cause for concern and will usually heal on their own within a few days or weeks. However, if you notice a lump that grows over time or doesn’t go away, you might have a granular cell tumor.

Learn how to spot one in your mouth so you can schedule an appointment to talk with your doctor or dentist about any abnormal growth as soon as possible.

What Is A Granular Cell Tumor?

Granular cell tumors, or Abrikossoff tumors, sound scary. After all, malignant granular cell tumors possess metastatic potential. Plus, individuals with malignant tumors may be at a greater risk of developing pancreatic and renal cell cancers.

Luckily, these growths are often benign — malignant granular cell tumors make up less than two percent of all cases. These tumors form via a neoplastic process and consist of a group of plump cells with an excessive amount of granular cytoplasm.

Often solitary, they can occur anywhere on your body, although 45 to 65 percent of occurrences appear on the head and neck regions of the body. Abrikossoff tumors most often occur on the tongue, but they can also appear on the skin. In rare cases, they may develop in the bronchus, stomach, esophagus, breast parenchyma, rectal mucosa, and anus mucosa.

What Does A Granular Cell Tumor Look Like In The Mouth?

Granular cell tumors have typical sizes ranging from 0.5-3 cm. They often have an irregular shape, a fleshy appearance, and are brownish-red or yellow-gray. Granular cell tumors may be mistaken for fibroma (benign, tumor-like growths composed of fibrous and connective tissue).

When viewed under a microscope, the granular cells in these tumors contain diastase-resistant lysosomes that are both periodic acid-Schiff stain positive, neuron-specific enolase (NSE) stain positive, and S100 protein stain positive. However, two variants don’t stain positively with S100 protein. Primitive polypoid granular cell tumors (non-neural granular cell tumors) have similar clinical characteristics, and congenital granular cell lesions only occur in the gums of newborns, but both variants lack S100 staining.

Who Is More At Risk Of Developing A Granular Cell Tumor?

Anyone at any age may develop a granular cell tumor. However, these growths are most commonly found in women, individuals of African descent, and individuals between 40 and 60 years of age.

What Does Treatment Look Like For Granular Cell Tumors?

Treatment for both benign and malignant granular cell tumors often involves surgery, as chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments are not typically effective against Abrikossoff tumors. Unfortunately, the growth may recur, even after complete surgical removal, and there aren’t any proven methods for preventing granular cell tumors from occurring or reoccurring.

See A Professional

Whether you have a granular cell tumor or not, brushing two to three times each day and flossing every day are essential parts of any preventive health care routine. And, even though granular cell tumors are usually benign, you should still schedule an appointment with your dental health professional twice a year, as your dentist will be able to catch any signs of these tumors or other potential problems early.

Are you worried you have a granular cell tumor? At Espire, our experienced dentists can clean your teeth and check for any signs of granular cell tumors. If you’ve noticed any new bumps or believe you have a granular cell tumor, contact us today!