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Primary nasopharyngeal mucoepidermoid carcinoma in Japanese patients: two case reports with histochemical and immunohistochemical analysis and a review of the literature

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Mucoepidermoid carcinoma is a common neoplasm of the salivary glands. Salivary gland-type neoplasms are very rare in the nasopharynx, and there are only few reports on mucoepidermoid carcinoma of the nasopharynx. Two additional cases of mucoepidermoid carcinoma arising from the nasopharynx are reported here. Case 1: the patient was a 57-year-old Japanese woman who had bloody sputum. Case 2: the patient was a 51-year-old Japanese woman who underwent resection of a nasopharyngeal tumor. Histologically, both tumors were also low-grade mucoepidermoid carcinomas with clear cells. Histochemically, the gland-like nests and mucous cells were positive for mucin staining. Immunohistochemically, the lesions were positive for cytokeratins (CKs), p63, and MUC1, but negative for alpha-smooth muscle actin and EBER mRNA. The Ki-67 labeling indices of the two tumors were 10.4% and 4.3%, respectively. The two present cases and a review of the English literature indicate that salivary gland-type neoplasms arising from the nasopahrynx are extremely rare. The prognosis of salivary gland-type carcinomas of the nasopharynx is still unknown.

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The authors thank Mr. Isamu Hayashi, Mr. Kazuhiro Kawabata, Mr. Yoichi Watanabe, Ms. Yukiko Fukazawa, Mr. Kiyoshi Tone, Mr. Koji Muramatsu, Ms. Kaori Nagata, Ms. Sayaka Tokushige, Mr. Hiroshi Tashiro, Ms. Tsukumi Yabuzaki, Mr. Eiichiro Simmori, Ms. Sachiyo Ohno, Mari Hiyoshi, and Mr. Masataka Honda, the staff of the Division of Pathology, Shizuoka Cancer Center, Shizuoka, Japan, for the technical assistance. We are grateful to Mr. Koji Sugawara, the staff of the Photo Center, Shizuoka Cancer Center, Shizuoka, Japan, for the help with the preparation of the figures.

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Correspondence to Kimihide Kusafuka.

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Kusafuka, K., Takizawa, Y., Iida, Y. et al. Primary nasopharyngeal mucoepidermoid carcinoma in Japanese patients: two case reports with histochemical and immunohistochemical analysis and a review of the literature. Virchows Arch 450, 343–348 (2007).

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  • Mucoepidermoid carcinoma
  • Nasopharynx
  • MUC
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Epstein–Barr virus