Mucoepidermoid carcinoma

Mucoepidermoid carcinoma
Micrograph of a mucoepidermoid carcinoma. FNA specimen. Pap stain.
Classification and external resources
ICD-O M8430/3
OMIM 607536
MeSH C04.557.470.200.025.340

Mucoepidermoid carcinoma is the most common type of salivary gland malignancy in adults. Mucoepidermoid carcinoma can also be found in other organs, as bronchi, lacrimal sac [1] and thyroid.

Mucicarmine staining is one stain used by pathologist for detection.[2]


Occurs in adults, with peak incidence from 20–40 years of age. A causal link with cytomegalovirus (CMV) has been strongly implicated in a 2011 research.[3]

Clinical Features

Presents as painless, slow-growing mass that is firm or hard. Most appear clinically as mixed tumors.


This tumor is not encapsulated and is characterized by squamous cells, mucus-secreting cells, and intermediate cells.[4]

Molecular biology

Mucoepidermoid carcinomas of the salivary and bronchial glands are characterized by a recurrent t(11;19)(q21;p13) chromosomal translocation resulting in a MECT1-MAML2 fusion gene.[5] The CREB-binding domain of the CREB coactivator MECT1 (also known as CRTC1, TORC1 or WAMTP1) is fused to the transactivation domain of the Notch coactivator MAML2 PMID 16444749.

A possible association with papillomavirus has been reported.[6]


Generally, there is a good prognosis for low-grade tumors, and a poor prognosis for high-grade tumors.

Additional images


  1. Elsevier Article Locator
  2. Modern Pathology – Primary Mucoepidermoid Carcinoma and Sclerosing Mucoepidermoid Carcinoma with Eosinophilia of the Thyroid Gland: A Report of Nine Cases
  3. Melnick, M.; Sedghizadeh, P. P.; Allen, C. M.; Jaskoll, T. (2012). "Human cytomegalovirus and mucoepidermoid carcinoma of salivary glands: Cell-specific localization of active viral and oncogenic signaling proteins is confirmatory of a causal relationship". Experimental and Molecular Pathology. 92 (1): 118–125. doi:10.1016/j.yexmp.2011.10.011. PMID 22101257.
  4. Chenevert, J; Barnes, LE; Chiosea, SI (February 2011). "Mucoepidermoid carcinoma: a five-decade journey.". Virchows Archiv : an international journal of pathology. 458 (2): 133–40. doi:10.1007/s00428-011-1040-y. PMID 21243374.
  5. Chiosea, SI; Dacic, S; Nikiforova, MN; Seethala, RR (August 2012). "Prospective testing of mucoepidermoid carcinoma for the MAML2 translocation: clinical implications.". The Laryngoscope. 122 (8): 1690–4. doi:10.1002/lary.22419. PMID 22833306.
  6. Isayeva T, Said-Al-Naief N, Ren Z, Li R, Gnepp D, Brandwein-Gensler M (2012) Salivary mucoepidermoid carcinoma: Demonstration of transcriptionally active human papillomavirus 16/18. Head Neck Pathol
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