Invasive Micropapillary Salivary Duct Carcinoma: A Distinct Histologic Variant with Biologic Significance

Toshitaka Nagao, Thomas A. Gaffey, Daniel W. Visscher, Paul A. Kay, Hiroshi Minato, Hiromi Serizawa, Jean E. Lewis

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149 Scopus citations


An invasive micropapillary component has been described in tumors of several organs and is nearly always associated with aggressive biologic behavior. We present 14 cases of salivary duct carcinoma (SDC) with an invasive micropapillary component (invasive micropapillary SDC) and compare the clinicopathologic findings of these cases with those of cases of conventional SDC. The mean age of the 14 patients (10 men, 4 women) was 65,8 years (range, 26-80 years). The mean size of the tumors was 2.4 cm (range, 1.3-5 cm). The parotid gland was involved in 12 patients and the submandibular gland in 2. Histologically, all tumors had an invasive micropapillary architecture admixed with features typical for SDC. Invasive micropapillary carcinoma was characterized by morula-like small cell clusters without fibrovascular cores, surrounded by a clear space. Tumor cells exhibited moderate- to high-grade nuclear features, conspicuous nucleoli, and eosinophilic cytoplasm. This component was distributed diffusely in 9 tumors and focally in 5. Angiolymphatic and perineural invasion was seen in all tumors. A residual pleomorphic adenoma was detected in four tumors. Of the 12 tumors examined, all were diffusely positive for cytokeratin 7 and epithelial membrane antigen (with a distinctive "inside-out" pattern) but negative for cytokeratin 20. Tumors were frequently immunoreactive for BRST-2 (gross cystic disease fluid protein-15) and androgen receptor protein. Aberrant expression of HER-2/neu or p53 was detected in seven tumors each. The mean Ki-67 labeling index was 33.1% (range, 6.3%-61.6%). All 14 patients with invasive micropapillary SDC had cervical or periglandular lymph node metastasis, and this value was significantly higher than for conventional SDCs. Local recurrence developed in 4 patients and distant metastatic disease in 9. Clinical follow-up (mean, 25.5 months) was available for 13 patients: 9 died of disease within 24 months after the diagnosis (mean, 17.6 months), 1 was alive with metastatic disease at 19 months, and 3 were free of disease. Overall survival of these patients with invasive micropapillary SDC was significantly shorter than that of patients with conventional SDC (n = 49) in our series (P = 0.031). Our results suggest that invasive micropapillary SDC is a distinct, aggressive variant of SDC, with a propensity for extensive lymph node metastasis and rapid disease progression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)319-326
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgical Pathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2004


  • Micropapillary
  • Parotid gland
  • Prognosis
  • Salivary duct carcinoma
  • Salivary gland

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Surgery
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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