Ameloblastic carcinoma: case report and literature review

Faculty of Dentistry, Laval University, Cité universitaire, Ste-Foy, Quebec.
Journal (Canadian Dental Association) (Impact Factor: 0.6). 11/2003; 69(9):573-6.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Ameloblastic carcinoma is a rare malignant lesion with characteristic histologic features and behaviour that dictates a more aggressive surgical approach than that of a simple ameloblastoma. However, reliable evidence of its biologic activity is currently unavailable due to the scarcity of well-documented cases. It occurs primarily in the mandible in a wide range of age groups; no sex or race predilection has been noted. It may present as a cystic lesion with benign clinical features or as a large tissue mass with ulceration, significant bone resorption and tooth mobility. Because the lesion is usually found unexpectedly after an incisional biopsy or the removal of a cyst, a guide to differential diagnosis is not usually useful. The identifying features of ameloblastic carcinoma must be known and recognized by dental practitioners. Our understanding of the histologic features of ameloblastic carcinoma is somewhat vague. The tumour cells resemble the cells seen in ameloblastoma, but they show cytologic atypia. Moreover, they lack the characteristic arrangement seen in ameloblastoma. The clinical course of ameloblastic carcinoma is typically aggressive, with extensive local destruction. Direct extension of the tumour, lymph node involvement and metastasis to various sites (frequently the lung) have been reported. Wide local excision is the treatment of choice. Regional lymph node dissection should be considered and performed selectively. Radiotherapy and chemotherapy seem to be of limited value for the treatment of ameloblastic carcinomas. At the moment, there are too few reported cases to make a definite recommendation regarding treatment. Close periodic reassessment of the patient is mandatory.

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