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Cancer Genet Cytogenet. 2008 Jan 15;180(2):135-9. doi: 10.1016/j.cancergencyto.2007.10.007.

A closer look at Warthin tumors and the t(11;19).

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1
Center for Human Genetics, University of Bremen, Leobener Str. ZHG, D-28359 Bremen, Germany.

Abstract

The translocation t(11;19)(q21;p13) has been described in mucoepidermoid carcinoma (MEC) and rarely in Warthin tumors (WT), both tumors of the salivary gland. The translocation creates a fusion gene in which exon 1 of CRTC1 is linked to exons 2-5 of MAML2. To verify the translocation in WT, we performed nested reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction using RNA from 48 WTs. This revealed the t(11;19)(q21;p13) translocation and expression of the chimeric gene in two metaplastic WT samples, but in none of the remaining ordinary 46 WTs. On review, the two positive cases were classified as tumors highly suspect for MEC. Indeed, our experience and published observations of the t(11;19)(q21;p13) translocation in WT reveal that only a small subset of WTs are positive, and that these tumors are often classified as infarcted or metaplastic WT, known to overlap considerably with MEC on purely morphological grounds. We therefore conclude that the presence of the t(11;19)(q21;p13) rearrangement favors a diagnosis of MEC.

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