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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

A study on the relationship between solid cell nests and mucoepidermoid carcinoma of the thyroid.

Mucoepidermoid carcinoma of the thyroid (MECT) has been recently recognized as a pathological entity. The origin of MECT is unknown but the morphology of this tumour closely resembles features seen in the ultimobranchial body (UB) vestiges. Recent studies in man have shown strong evidence that the so-called solid cell nests (SCN) of the thyroid may correspond to the human UB vestiges. To investigate whether these vestiges are the site of origin of this tumour a comparative study on SCN and MECT was undertaken. One hundred autopsied thyroids cut at 2-3 mm intervals were studied for the presence of SCN. Histochemical (H & E, Alcian blue-PAS, Mayer mucicarmine) and immunohistochemical studies (calcitonin, epidermal keratin) were performed in SCN and four cases of MECT. Sixty percent of thyroids were found to have SCN. They were mainly composed of epidermoid-like cells arranged in solid structures or lining cystic cavities, tubular and follicular structures. Solid clusters usually showed lumina containing PAS-positive and mucin-positive cell debris. Mucin stains also revealed mucinous cells placed around lumina filled by mucosubstances. Characteristic PAS-positive rounded bodies were found filling lumina as well as within some apical epidermoid-like cells, mucinous cells and cell debris. An obvious transition between these cells, cell debris and mucosubstances filling the lumina was noticed; suggesting degenerative changes undergone by the epidermoid-like cell. MECT basically presented all histological and histochemical features shown by SCN, furthermore, calcitonin containing cells were observed in 54% of SCN, while a metastatic MECT also showed scattered C cells within solid islands. The presence of epidermal keratin in all SCN and MECT, together with the previous findings, are strong evidence that MECT could originate in the SCN or human UB vestiges.[1]


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