Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
Cytokeratin expression and epithelial differentiation in Warthin’s tumour and its metaplastic (infarcted) variant Aims: Warthin’s tumour is characterized by a bilayered columnar epithelium. Transformation into metaplastic (infarcted) Warthin’s tumour includes squamous metaplasia of the epithelium along with regressive changes in the stroma. Misinterpretation of metaplastic Warthin’s tumour for malignancy is a serious diagnostic pitfall. This study assesses the utility of cytokeratin expression in Warthin’s tumour and its metaplastic variant. Methods and results: Twenty-six cases of Warthin’s tumour, among them eight metaplastic Warthin’s tumours, were investigated employing immunohistochemistry. Both Warthin’s tumour and its metaplastic variant regularly expressed cytokeratins (CK) 7, 8, 18, and 19. Staining results with antibodies to CK10, 10/13, 1/2/10/11, and 20 were negative in all specimens. Immunoreactivity for CK 5/14 and 17 was restricted to basal cells in Warthin’s tumour, but involved basal as well as surface cells in metaplastic Warthin’s tumour. Conclusions: Warthin’s tumour and its metaplastic (infarcted) variant both express CK 7, 8, 18, and 19, which are typical for columnar differentiation. Cytokeratins typical of squamous differentiation are absent from Warthin’s tumour and its metaplastic variant, irrespective of the squamous morphology of the epithelium in metaplastic Warthin’s tumour. The expression of CK 5/14 and 17, which are typical of regenerative cells, is restricted to basal cells in Warthin’s tumour, but is expressed also in surface cells in metaplastic Warthin’s tumour.
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