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An Official Publication of the Indian Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathologists

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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 18  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 2-3

Microcalcifications in Salivary Gland Tumors

Editor in Chief - JOMFP, Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Krishnadevaraya College of Dental Sciences, Bangalore - 562 157, Karnataka, India

Date of Web Publication6-May-2014

Correspondence Address:
Radhika M Bavle
Editor in Chief - JOMFP, Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Krishnadevaraya College of Dental Sciences, Bangalore - 562 157, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0973-029X.131880

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How to cite this article:
Bavle RM. Microcalcifications in Salivary Gland Tumors. J Oral Maxillofac Pathol 2014;18:2-3

How to cite this URL:
Bavle RM. Microcalcifications in Salivary Gland Tumors. J Oral Maxillofac Pathol [serial online] 2014 [cited 2021 Sep 18];18:2-3. Available from: https://www.jomfp.in/text.asp?2014/18/1/2/131880

Salivary gland tumors form an informidable group of tumors with abundant tumor entities listed by World Health Organization (WHO). They can make diagnosis difficult because of morphological diversity in the tumor itself and between tumor types. Grey areas also exist between clear demarcation of benign and malignant tumors in some variants. Relative rarity of tumor types makes the assessment of natural history, biology of the tumor and prognosis difficult.

Few histological parameters like dedifferentiation and new histopathological variants have found recognition in the field of salivary gland tumor pathology, but some findings like microcalcification are yet to be completely explored.

Calcification, generally in the form of microcalcifications are seen in a range of salivary gland tumors from pleomorphic adenoma, [1] keratocystoma, [2] epithelial-myoepithelial carcinoma [3] to mucoepidermoid carcinoma (MEC) most frequently. [4] The presence of microcalcifications in salivary gland tumors is rare and the significance of its presence fades clarity. According to some reports, the presence of microcalcifications suggests that they are associated with high-grade tumors with more aggressive outcomes. [4] More recent articles clearly state that the calcifications is not related to histopathological grade of differentiations and is not associated with outcome either. [4] This phenomenon is more frequently seen in MEC of minor salivary glands, especially with clear cell differentiation. The calcifications seen are frequently concentric in nature and are more in intra-luminar ducts and cysts. The calcification may be concentric, laminar frequently and can be punctiform or irregular [Figure 2]. [5],[6]

Concentrically arranged microcalcifications can be appreciated among spindle-shaped cells and epidermoid cells. Some of the epidermoid cells show cytoplasmic clearing [Figure 1]a. Hand-drawn illustration of the same can be seen in [Figure 1]b.
Figure 1: (a) Photomicrograph of MEC showing eosinophilic microcalcifications with concentric basophilic lines (arrows) (H&E stain, ×200). (b) Hand-drawn illustration of the same

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Figure 2: Areas of microcalcifi cations with central basophilic zones and peripheral eosinophilic zones detected in different fi elds of MEC. Microcalcifi cations were seen among (a) Epidermoid and spindle shaped cells arranged irregularly (H&E stain, ×100). (b) At the center of epidermoid cells arranged oncentrically (arrows), few mucous cells are also seen (H&E stain, ×200). (c) Concentrically arranged among epidermoid cells (H&E stain, ×200). (d) Concentrically arranged among spindle and epidermoid cells (arrows) (H&E stain, ×100)

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All authors propose four mechanisms for the process of calcification. These include the following: [4].

  • Result of hypercalcemia
  • As a tumor component
  • Dystrophic calcification of necrotic area
  • Calcifications of the material secreted by tumor cells.

The latter two reasons are gaining more support, as in some cases it is seen as calcification of the mucin secreted by malignant cells or calcification associated with amorphous eosinophilic material secreted by intermediate basal cells. [5]

Although calcification is a common finding in inflammatory salivary gland disorders, their role or significance is rarely stressed in diagnosis of salivary gland tumors. [7] A detailed observation and correlation in larger number of salivary gland tumors may help in elucidating their role and relation to the pathology.

   Acknowledgement Top

(a) Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Krishnadevaraya College of Dental Sciences, Bangalore. (b) Dr. Padmalatha G V, Postgraduate student, Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Krishnadevaraya College of Dental Sciences.

   References Top

1.Shi H, Wang P, Wang S, Yu Q. Pleomorphic adenoma with extensive ossified and calcified degeneration: Unusual CT findings in one case. AJNR Am J Neuroradiol 2008;29:737-8.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Nagao T, Serizawa H, Iwaya K, Shimizu T, Sugano I, Ishida Y, et al. Keratocystoma of the parotid gland: A report of two cases of an unusual pathologic entity. Mod Pathol 2002;15:1005-10.  Back to cited text no. 2
3.Simpson RH, Clarke TJ, Sarsfield PT, Gluckman PG. Epithelial-myoepithelial carcinoma of salivary glands. J Clin Pathol 1991;44:419-23.  Back to cited text no. 3
4.González-Arriagada WA, Santos-Silva AR, Ito FA, Vargas PA, Lopes MA. Calcifications may be a frequent finding in MECs of the salivary glands: A clinicopathologic study. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol Endod 2011;111:482-5.  Back to cited text no. 4
5.Do Prado RF, Lima CF, Pontes HA, Almeida JD, Cabral LA, Carvalho YR. Calcifications in a clear cell mucoepidermoid carcinoma: A case report with histological and immunohistochemical findings. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol Endo 2007;104:e40-4.  Back to cited text no. 5
6.Yoon JH, Ahn SG, Kim SG, Kim J. Calcifications in a clear cell mucoepidermoid carcinoma of the hard palate. Int J Oral Maxillofac Surg 2005;34:927-9.  Back to cited text no. 6
7.Yang S, Chen X. Calcifications in clear cell mucoepidermoid carcinomas. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol Endod 2010;109:274-5.  Back to cited text no. 7


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2]


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