Dedifferentiation in low-grade mucoepidermoid carcinoma of the parotid gland
Mucoepidermoid carcinoma (MEC), a common malignant salivary gland neoplasm, is generally divided into low-, intermediate-, and high-grade types according to the histologic features. To our knowledge, the present report describes the first case of dedifferentiation occurring in a low-grade MEC. A 55-year-old man presented with a biphasic neoplasm of the right parotid gland composed of low-grade MEC and dedifferentiated high-grade anaplastic undifferentiated carcinoma. Immunohistochemically, carcinoembryonic antigen expression was restricted to the low-grade MEC portion. The Ki-67-labeling index was higher in the dedifferentiated component than in the low-grade component. On image cytometric analysis, the low-grade MEC was diploid, whereas the dedifferentiated carcinoma was aneuploid. Although the patient was alive 10 years after the initial diagnosis, the tumor has recurred twice, at 3 months and 7 months after the initial resection. It is important to recognize that dedifferentiation can occur in a low-grade MEC, similar to other low-grade salivary gland carcinomas.