Immunohistochemical study of basaloid squamous cell carcinoma, adenoid cystic and mucoepidermoid carcinoma in the upper aerodigestive tract

H. Tsubochi, T. Suzuki, S. Suzuki, Yusuke Ohashi, S. Ishibashi, T. Moriya, S. Fujimura, Hironobu Sasano

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60 Citations (Scopus)


Non-squamous cell carcinoma is a rare but distinct neoplasm of the upper aerodigestive tract. Among these carcinomas, basaloid-squamous cell carcinoma (BSCC) has frequently been confused with adenoid cystic carcinoma (ACC) and mucoepidermoid carcinoma of the upper aerodigestive tract In this study, we examined immunohistochemically the expression of differentiation-related substances, including cytokeratin (CK) subtypes, p53 and p27, and cell adhesion-related molecules E-cadherin and α-catenin to clarify the biological features of these neoplasms. We studied seven cases of BSCC of the oesophagus, five cases of ACC and seven cases of mucoepidermoid carcinoma. Squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma of the oesophagus and trachea were also studied for comparison. Among the cytokeratin subtypes examined, CK14, CK17 and CK19 immunoreactivity was detected in BSCC. ACC and mucoepidermoid carcinoma were immunopositive for CK8, CK14 and CK17 and for CK8, CK14, CK17 and CK19, respectively. These findings suggest that CK subtypes, especially CK8, CK14 and CK17, are useful in differentiating these malignancies. BSCC was more frequently associated with decreased E-cadherin and α-catenin immunoreactivity than ACC and mucoepidermoid carcinoma. Nuclear p53 immunoreactivity was detected more frequently in BSCC (5 out of 7) than in ACC (2 out of 5) and mucoepidermoid carcinoma (4 out of 7). There were no significant differences in p27 immunoreactivity among these carcinomas. Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) immunoreactivity was detected in mucoepidermoid carcinoma (2 out of 7), SCC (8 out of 11) and adenocarcinoma (9 out of 9), but it was not detected in BSCC (7) or ACC (5). Carbohydrate antigen 19-9 (CA19-9) immunoreactivity was detected only in mucoepidermoid carcinoma (4 out of 7) and adenocarcinoma, but not in BSCC, ACC, or SCC. These findings indicate that BSCC, ACC and mucoepidermoid carcinoma are distinct neoplasms arising in the upper aerodigestive tract. In addition, decreased expression of E-cadherin and α-catenin proteins and increased p53 expression in BSCC may be correlated with aggressive behaviour.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1205-1211
Number of pages7
JournalAnticancer research
Issue number2 B
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • Adenoid cystic
  • Basaloid
  • Cytokeratin
  • E-cadherin
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Mucoepidermoid
  • p53
  • α-catenin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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