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Open Access Open Badges Case Report

Epithelial-myoepithelial tumour of the lung: a case report referring to its molecular histogenesis

Guillermo Muñoz*, Francesc Felipo, Isabel Marquina and Celia Del Agua

Author Affiliations

Department of Pathology, Hospital Universitario Miguel Servet Zaragoza, 50009, Spain

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Diagnostic Pathology 2011, 6:71  doi:10.1186/1746-1596-6-71

Published: 28 July 2011


Tracheobronchial submucous glands can be considered the pulmonary equivalent of minor salivary glands and therefore they can develop most of the tumours originated in these. Nevertheless, in spite of the wide distribution of this kind of glands along the tracheobronchial tree, pulmonary salivary gland-like neoplasms are not very frequent. Among them, the most frequent are mucoepidermoid and adenoid cystic carcinomas. On the contrary, pulmonary neoplasms showing a mixture of epithelial and myoepithelial elements are extraordinary infrequent, with only 11 cases collected from literature.

We present the case of a 76 year-old woman with no interesting pathological history, to whom a pulmonary nodule is detected during a study of unknown origin neutropenia. An upper right lobectomy is performed.

After macro and microscopic study, the diagnosis of pulmonary epithelial-myoepithelial tumour is made. It is a low malignant potential tumour with capacity to locally recur and less frequently to metastasize. Our case has the peculiarity of not being connected neither to visceral pleura nor to bronchial tree; we have not found this characteristic in any literature reviewed case.

These tumours have been named in a lot of different ways, including adenomyoepithelioma, epithelial-myoepithelial tumour, epithelial-myoepithelial carcinoma or epithelial-myoepithelial tumour of uncertain malignant potential.

The p27/kip-1 protein plays a fundamental role in the development of these neoplasms. As we have verified in our case, its aberrant cytoplasmic location, besides its proved oncogenic function, would favour the proliferation of stem cells, which would explain both dual phenotype with presence of myoepithelial cells without connection with the bronchial tree, and TTF-1 immunostaining in epithelial cells.