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Micrograph of a schwannoma showing both a cellular Antoni A area (center and right of image) and a loose paucicellular Antoni B area (left edge of image). HPS stain.
A schwannoma (also known as an "neurilemmoma,":621 "neurinoma," "neurolemmoma," and "Schwann cell tumor") is a benign nerve sheath tumor composed of Schwann cells, which normally produce the insulating myelin sheath covering peripheral nerves.
Schwannomas are very homogeneous tumors, consisting only of Schwann cells. The tumor cells always stay on the outside of the nerve, but the tumor itself may either push the nerve aside and/or up against a bony structure (thereby possibly causing damage). Schwannomas are relatively slow growing. For reasons not yet understood, schwannomas are mostly benign and less than 1% become malignant, degenerating into a form of cancer known as neurofibrosarcoma.
Schwannomas can be removed surgically, but can then recur.
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