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Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2001 Dec;125(12):1566-71.

Clear cell odontogenic carcinoma: a clinicopathologic and immunocytochemical study of 5 cases.

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  • 1Department of Oral Pathology, School of Stomatology, Peking University, Beijing, People's Republic of China.



Odontogenic tumor composed predominantly of clear cells is a rare neoplasm of the jaws that was initially designated as clear cell odontogenic tumor. Subsequent reports in the literature, however, all have indicated that this tumor exhibits an aggressive behavior characterized by infiltrative local growth, recurrence, or metastases.


To ascertain the clinicomorphologic features and biologic behavior of this tumor group, we present 5 additional cases using the term clear cell odontogenic carcinoma.


Histologic and immunohistochemical examinations were performed on clear cell odontogenic carcinomas from 5 patients. Clinical and follow-up data were recorded, and the literature was reviewed.


The patients were 1 man and 4 women with an average age of 42.4 years at diagnosis. Three tumors occurred in the mandible and the other 2 in the maxilla. Four of the 5 cases occurred in the anterior or premolar areas of the jaws, appearing as poorly marginated radiolucencies. All cases consisted of islands and sheets of large clear cells and small basaloid cells with scanty eosinophilic cytoplasm, which were separated by thin, mature, fibrous septae. The tumors were unencapsulated and showed aggressive infiltration of the surrounding muscle and perineural tissues. Most of the clear cells contained cytoplasmic glycogen. Immunocytochemically, the tumor cells were positive for pan-keratin, cytokeratin 19, and epithelial membrane antigen, but were negative for vimentin, S100 protein, desmin, smooth muscle actin, human melanoma antigen (HMB-45), and alpha(1)-antichymotrypsin. Follow-up data showed 4 of 5 patients to have multiple local recurrences, and 1 of these 4 had submandibular lymph node metastasis and a fatal outcome due to uncontrollable tumor growth.


These results suggest that odontogenic clear cell neoplasms are at least low-grade malignancies and should be classified as carcinomas.

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