High-grade carcinoma component in epithelial-myoepithelial carcinoma of salivary glands clinicopathological, immunohistochemical and flow-cytometric study of three cases

L Alos*, R Carrillo, J Ramos, JM Baez, C Mallofre, PL Fernandez, A Cardesa

*Corresponding author for this work

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Three cases of epithelial-myoepithelial carcinoma (EMC) with coexisting areas of high grade carcinoma are reported, In two of the cases there was a previous recurrence, and in all three patients there had been a sudden increase in size before final surgery. The typical ductal and myoepithelial components of EMC showed the usual biphasic pattern and the expected immunophenotypes, with expression of wide spectrum cytokeratins, Cam 5.2 and EMA in the ductal part, and muscle-specific actin, smooth muscle actin, S-100 protein, vimentin and cytokeratins in the myoepithelial component. These areas also had a low mitotic count and low proliferation rate as measured by immunohistochemistry and by flow cytometry. Conversely, areas of high-grade tumour had the features of a large cell carcinoma, with focal mucin secretion in two cases. This high-grade component showed an epithelial immunophenotype in two cases, and was negative for all tested markers in the third one. The mitotic counts and the proliferation rates were much higher in these anaplastic areas. One of the patients died 3 months after treatment; another developed lymph node metastases 1 year later and was alive after 6 years of follow-up. The third patient was alive without evidence of disease 7 months after wide surgical resection of the tumour. The possibility of anaplastic transformation in EMC makes thorough sampling mandatory in this type of neoplasm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-299
Number of pages9
JournalVirchows Archiv
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1999


  • epithelial myoepithelial carcinoma
  • salivary gland tumours
  • immunohistochemistry
  • flow cytometry
  • MIB-1 (Ki 67)
  • proliferative markers
  • KI-67

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