RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Carcinoma ex pleomorphic adenoma (CXPA): immunoprofile of the cells involved in carcinomatous progression.

Histopathology 2005 June
AIMS: To characterize the cellular component in pleomorphic adenoma (PA) that undergoes malignant transformation in carcinoma ex pleomorphic adenoma (CXPA).

METHODS AND RESULTS: A panel of antibodies against cytoskeletal proteins was applied in 16 cases of CXPA: intracapsular carcinoma (five cases), minimally invasive (four cases) and frankly invasive (seven cases). The CXPAs were classified into two main groups according to their predominant cellular component as detected by the panel of antibodies: (i) carcinomas with only epithelial differentiation (75% of the cases), and (ii) carcinomas with a myoepithelial component (25%). CXPA with only epithelial differentiation showed two types of malignant areas in the part of the tumour that was confined by the PA capsule: (i) intraductal carcinoma areas characterized by ductal structures containing both benign myoepithelial cells positive for alpha-smooth muscle actin (alpha-SMA), vimentin and cytokeratin (CK)14 and proliferating atypical luminal cells reactive for CK7, CK8 and CK19, and (ii) carcinoma areas composed only of epithelial cells reactive for CK7, CK8 and CK19. In the latter, the cells presented morphological and immunohistochemical characteristics similar to those found in areas of invasive carcinoma outside the PA capsule. CXPAs with a myoepithelial component were composed mainly or exclusively of cells that expressed vimentin and alpha-SMA. In this group, ductal structures reminiscent of PA filled by malignant cells were not identified.

CONCLUSION: Most CXPAs consist only of epithelial cells that have an immunoprofile comparable to ductal luminal cells of PA. These malignant luminal cells arise in the duct-like structures as intraductal carcinoma and probably only at this early stage of development should the lesion be considered as a non-invasive carcinoma.

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