Primary thymic mucoepidermoid carcinoma (TMEC) is rare. High-grade TMEC can be difficult to distinguish from poorly differentiated squamous cell carcinoma and adenosquamous carcinoma. A strong association between mucoepidermoid carcinoma (MEC) and t(11;19)(q21;p13) has been observed in other anatomical sites. Although this translocation is largely considered a disease-defining event for MEC, its incidence in TMEC has not been explored. In this study, we evaluate the value of identifying MAML2 rearrangement by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) to distinguish TMEC from poorly differentiated squamous cell carcinoma and adenosquamous carcinoma. Cases of TMEC, moderate to poorly differentiated squamous cell carcinoma, and adenosquamous carcinoma were re-reviewed by 3 surgical pathologists and classified according to the current World Health Organization classification of thymic tumors (2004). Cases of TMEC were histologically graded using the Brandwein system. FISH was used to detect MAML2 rearrangements using a break-apart probe. FISH for MAML2 rearrangement was performed on cases of TMEC (n = 2), thymic squamous cell carcinoma (n = 5), and thymic adenosquamous carcinoma (n = 3). The 2 cases of TMEC showed MAML2 rearrangement. All other tested cases did not show rearrangement of MAML2. In conclusion, using FISH to identify MAML2 rearrangement is a valuable diagnostic tool in the evaluation of thymic malignancies, specifically, distinguishing TMEC from squamous cell carcinoma and adenosquamous carcinoma. These findings also suggest that TMEC has both histomorphologic and cytogenetic similarities to cases of MEC arising from other anatomical sites.
- Fluorescence in situ hybridization
- Mucoepidermoid carcinoma
- Thymic carcinoma
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine