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Proceedings of the 2023 North American Society of Head and Neck Pathology Companion Meeting, New Orleans, LA, March 12, 2023: Odontogenic Tumors: Have We Achieved an Evidence-Based Classification.

BACKGROUND: The World Health Organization's (WHO) chapter on odontogenic and maxillofacial bone tumors provides a global reference for diagnosis of these tumors. In the fifth edition, the inclusion of consensus definitions and development of essential and desirable diagnostic criteria help improve recognition of distinct entities. These are key enhancements since the diagnosis of odontogenic tumors is largely based on histomorphology which is taken in combination with clinical and radiographic appearances.

METHODS: Review.

RESULTS: Despite delineation of diagnostic criteria for ameloblastoma, adenoid ameloblastoma, and dentinogenic ghost cell tumor, a subset of these tumors continues to show overlapping histological features that can potentially lead to misdiagnosis. Accurate classification may be challenging on small biopsies, but potentially enhanced by refining existing diagnostic criteria and utilization of immunohistochemistry and/or molecular techniques in a specific cases. It has become clear that the clinical and histologic features of the non-calcifying Langerhans cell-rich subtype of calcifying epithelial odontogenic tumor and the amyloid-rich variant of odontogenic fibroma converge into a single tumor description. In addition, this tumor shows remarkable clinical, histological overlap with a subset of sclerosing odontogenic carcinoma located in the maxilla. Benign perineural involvement vs perineural invasion is an underexplored concept in odontogenic neoplasia and warrants clarification to reduce diagnostic confusion with sclerosing odontogenic carcinoma.

CONCLUSION: While controversial issues surrounding classification and discrete tumor entities are addressed in the WHO chapter, ambiguities inevitably remain. This review will examine several groups of odontogenic tumors to highlight persistent knowledge gaps, unmet needs and unresolved controversies.

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