RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Precancerous foci in pleomorphic adenoma of the salivary gland: recognition of focal carcinoma and atypical tumor cells by P53 immunohistochemistry.

BACKGROUND: It is still controversial if atypical tumor cells scattered in salivary pleomorphic adenomas are precancerous and how carcinoma arises in pleomorphic adenomas.

METHODS: We studied clinicopathologically the frequency and variation of cellular atypia among tumor cells and examined the expression status of p53 gene products as well as proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) in 101 surgical materials of pleomorphic adenomas.

RESULTS: Histopathologically, atypical tumor cells were found in 51% of the cases examined. Their mode of distribution was classified into three groups: focal (six cases, 6%) which could be identified as focal carcinoma, measuring less than 1 mm in diameter; sporadic (15 cases, 15%) and singular (30 cases, 30%). These atypical cells were located mainly within sheet-like nests of tumor cells but not in chondroid or fibro-hyaline foci. Immunohistochemically, most of the atypical cells were positive for p53 gene products and PCNA.

CONCLUSION: The results indicated that atypical cells with p53 protein accumulation in their nuclei could be regarded as cells in a precancerous state not yet forming an apparent carcinomatous nest. Some cell population with these atypical cells are likely to form focal carcinomas and then to an apparent form of carcinoma in pleomorphic adenoma.

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