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Histopathology. 2014 May;64(6):880-9. doi: 10.1111/his.12339. Epub 2014 Feb 5.

Tubular variant of basal cell adenoma shares immunophenotypical features with normal intercalated ducts and is closely related to intercalated duct lesions of salivary gland.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, University of Campinas, (UNICAMP), Campinas, Brazil.



The morphological criteria for identification of intercalated duct lesions (IDLs) of salivary glands have been defined recently. It has been hypothesised that IDL could be a precursor of basal cell adenoma (BCA). BCAs show a variety of histological patterns, and the tubular variant is the one that presents the strongest resemblance with IDLs. The aim of this study was to analyse the morphological and immunohistochemical profiles of IDLs and BCAs classified into tubular and non-tubular subtypes, to determine whether or not IDL and tubular BCA represent distinct entities.


Eight IDLs, nine tubular BCAs and 19 non-tubular BCAs were studied. All tubular BCAs contained IDL-like areas, which represented 20-70% of the tumour. In non-tubular BCA, IDL-like areas were occasional and small (<5%). One patient presented IDLs, tubular BCAs and IDL/tubular BCA combined lesions. Luminal ductal cells of IDLs and tubular BCAs exhibited positivity for CK7, lysozyme, S100 and DOG1. In the non-tubular BCA group, few luminal cells exhibited such an immunoprofile; they were mainly CK14-positive. Basal/myoepithelial cells of IDLs, tubular BCAs and non-tubular BCAs were positive for CK14, calponin, α-SMA and p63; they were more numerous in BCA lesions.


IDL, tubular BCA and non-tubular BCA form a continuum of lesions in which IDLs are related closely to tubular BCA. In both, the immunoprofile of luminal and myoepithelial cells recapitulates the normal intercalated duct. The difference between the adenoma-like subset of IDLs and tubular BCA rests mainly on the larger numbers of myoepithelial cells in the latter. Our findings indicate that at least some BCAs can arise via IDLs.

© 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


basal cell adenoma; immunoprofile; intercalated duct lesion

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