Amphicrine cells, dysplasias, and neoplasias

G. Chejfec, C. Capella, E. Solcia, W. Jao, V. E. Gould

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Abstract

The existence of epithelial cells displaying synchronous features of exocrine and endocrine differentiation has been well established. Sporadic descriptions of neoplasms comprising or including such cells have also been recorded. The authors investigated eight carcinomas (lung, two; stomach, two; colon, one; appendix, one; esophagus, one; and pancreas, one). By conventional light microscopy, all eight neoplasms appeared as moderately to well-differentiated adenocarcinomas. Mucosubstance stains showed positive material within well-defined lumina and as intracytoplasmic droplets. Argyrophil stains were positive in seven of the eight neoplasms. The esophageal tumor was a predominantly solid carcinoma; it compromised small to intermediate cells with focal mucosubstance positivity and squamous pearls. By electron microscopy, all these carcinomas including cells displaying variable complements of neurosecretory granules, which were concentrated in the basal pole or in cytoplasmic processes. The granule population was often heterogeneous. The pancreatic carcinoma also showed typical zymogen granules. In all cases, many of the neoplastic cells had true lumina or intracytoplasmic lumina, as well as arrays of filaments; secretory granules were also observed in cells with true or intracytoplasmic lumina. Immunohistochemical studies revealed in all cases either serotonin or one of a spectrum of neuropeptides. Five tumors contained more than one immunoreactive material. The authors conclude that synchronous exocrine and endocrine differentiation may be comparatively frequent in a spectrum of tumors that may be properly termed 'amphicrine' carcinomas. This demonstrable heterogeneity of malignant cell populations, however variably expressed, may prove to have considerable significance in the diagnosis and management of these neoplasms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2683-2690
Number of pages8
JournalCancer
Volume56
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1985

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology

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