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J Cutan Pathol. 1991 Feb;18(1):56-9.

Primary cutaneous mucoepidermoid carcinoma: report of a case.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore, MD 21205.


Primary mucoepidermoid carcinomas of the skin are extremely rare tumors. We describe a primary cutaneous mucoepidermoid carcinoma arising in the right ear (posterior mid helix) of a 66-year-old white man. The tumor was 0.6 cm in diameter, ulcerated and nonencapsulated. No other tumors were found in the patient. Histologically the tumor showed the characteristics of a "low grade" mucoepidermoid carcinoma, consisting of lobules of polygonal cells with vesicular nuclei. In the center of the lobules were large vacuolated cells (goblet cells). Transitions between the two cell populations were present throughout the tumor. An epidermal attachment of the tumor, as well as epidermal dysplasia, predominantly at the acrosyringium was present, consistent with the theory of sweat duct histogenesis of these tumors. Immunoperoxidase staining showed positivity for epithelial membrane antigen, keratin and carcinoembryonic antigen. The latter was predominantly positive in the goblet cells. Cutaneous metastasis of mucoepidermoid carcinomas with epidermal attachment has been reported. Our case showed only ear involvement and follow-up at 8 months has revealed no evidence of recurrence. These findings are consistent with the diagnosis of primary cutaneous mucoepidermoid carcinoma.

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