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Challenging Tumor Heterogeneity with HER2, p16 and Somatostatin Receptor 2 Expression in a Case of EBV-Associated Lymphoepithelial Carcinoma of the Salivary Gland.

Head and Neck Pathology 2023 October 18
BACKGROUND: Lymphoepithelial carcinoma of the salivary glands (LECSG) is a rare disease in the Western hemisphere that is typically associated with an EBV infection. The molecular mechanisms of LECSG tumorigenesis are poorly understood.

RESULTS: Here we report a case of EBV-associated LECSG with an unusual immunophenotype. The tumor exhibited bi-morphic histological features with a mutually exclusive expression of HER2 and p16. The p16-positive domain of the tumor immunohistochemically co-expressed late membrane protein 1 (LMP-1), while the HER2 positive domain did not. Both tumor regions expressed SSTR2.

METHODS: In situ hybridization confirmed the EBV origin of the tumor while extensive immunohistochemical characterization and the recently established RNA-based next generation sequencing panel ("SalvGlandDx" panel) did not reveal evidence for another salivary gland neoplasm. No HPV co-infection was detected by in situ hybridization or PCR-based screenings and no ERBB2 gene amplification was detected by fluorescence in situ hybridization.

CONCLUSION: These findings suggest tumor heterogeneity and lack of genomic aberrations in EBV-associated LECSGs. The heterogenous and unusual immunohistochemical features explain the diagnostic difficulties and simultaneously extend the immunophenotype spectrum of this tumor entity.

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