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Am J Surg Pathol. 2009 Aug;33(8):1137-45. doi: 10.1097/PAS.0b013e3181a38e1c.

Acinic cell carcinoma with high-grade transformation: a report of 9 cases with immunohistochemical study and analysis of TP53 and HER-2/neu genes.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Charles University in Prague, Faculty of Medicine, 305 99 Pilsen, Czech Republic.


High-grade transformation of acinic cell carcinoma (AciCC) (previously referred to as dedifferentiation) is a rare phenomenon characterized by histologic progression of low-grade AciCC to high-grade adenocarcinoma or undifferentiated carcinoma. We report 9 new cases with immunohistochemical analysis and examination of HER-2/neu and p53 genes to further define the profile of this tumor. Histologically, the high-grade component was composed of polymorphic cells with a high mitotic rate arranged in glandular and solid growth patterns with comedonecrosis. The MIB-1 labeling indices were elevated in the high-grade component, as compared with the low grade conventional AciCC. The high-grade component of AciCC was characterized by strong membrane staining for CK18 and beta-catenin, and nuclear staining for cyclin-D1. HER-2/neu, androgen receptor, C-kit, and epidermal growth factor receptor were absent from both low-grade and high-grade components. In contrast, S-100 protein, alpha-1-antitrypsin, and lysozyme were lost only in high-grade foci of transformed AciCC. The median age was 61 years (with range from 43 to 76 y). Lymph node (LN) metastases were found in 5 of 9 cases (56%). Distant metastases to the lungs (n=4), pleura (n=2), brain (n=3), and peritoneum (n=1), and paraaortic, paratracheal, and mediastinal LNs (n=2) were observed. Six of 9 patients (66%) died from tumor dissemination, all with a median overall survival of 4.3 years (range: 1 to 9 y). The high propensity for LN metastases indicates the need for neck dissection at the time of diagnosis.

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