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Ameloblastic carcinomas are rare tumors approximately accounting for 1% of jaw tumors 1,2. They have been found in a wide age range and are more common in men 1.
The diagnosis is established histologically.
Ameloblastic carcinomas might present with symptoms such as swelling, pain, ulceration, dysphonia, or spasms of the chewing muscles 2,3.
Ameloblastic carcinomas have the ability to metastasize 1-3.
Ameloblastic carcinomas form the malignant counterpart of ameloblastomas 2,3. They might originate anew or transform out of preexisting ameloblastomas or odontogenic cyst 2-4.
The tumors are more frequently found in the posterior mandible 1,3.
Microscopically, ameloblastic carcinomas are characterized by an ameloblastoma-like appearance with the following histological features 1-4:
- peripheral columnar cells
- variably reverse polarity
- cytological atypia with altered nuclear cytoplasm ratio
- cellular pleomorphism
- atypical mitosis
- neurovascular invasion
Radiographic features have been described as variable 4.
Ameloblastic carcinomas have been described as radiolucent but can show focal radiopaque spots 4. They might be unilocular or multilocular 1, with an irregular border and signs of cortical destruction and soft tissue invasion 3.
CT might show an expansile, destructive lesion with soft tissue extension 3. Large tumors might show foci of necrosis 4.
A description of the following features should be included in the radiology report:
- type location and size of the tumor
- cortical destruction and soft tissue invasion
- relation to the adjacent structures and teeth
Treatment and prognosis
Treatment consists of radical excision possibly with additional radiotherapy 1-4. The prognosis is poor. Pulmonary metastases are more common than regional lymph node metastasis and can occur early or late after surgical resection 3,4.
History and etymology
The term ameloblastic carcinoma was first introduced by Richard P Elazy in 1982 4,5.
The differential diagnosis of ameloblastic carcinomas include the following conditions 1,4:
- 1. Mahmoud S, Amer H, Mohamed S. Primary Ameloblastic Carcinoma: Literature Review with Case Series. Pjp. 2018;69(3):243-53. doi:10.5114/pjp.2018.79544 - Pubmed
- 2. Siozopoulou V & Vanhoenacker F. World Health Organization Classification of Odontogenic Tumors and Imaging Approach of Jaw Lesions. Semin Musculoskelet Radiol. 2020;24(05):535-48. doi:10.1055/s-0040-1710357 - Pubmed
- 3. Wright J & Soluk Tekkeşin M. Odontogenic Tumors. Where Are We in 2017? J Istanbul Univ Fac Dent. 2017;51(3 Suppl 1):S10-30. doi:10.17096/jiufd.52886 - Pubmed
- 4. Cho B, Jung Y, Hwang J. Ameloblastic Carcinoma of the Mandible: A Case Report. Imaging Sci Dent. 2020;50(4):359. doi:10.5624/isd.2020.50.4.359 - Pubmed
- 5. Elzay R. Primary Intraosseous Carcinoma of the Jaws. Review and Update of Odontogenic Carcinomas. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol. 1982;54(3):299-303. doi:10.1016/0030-4220(82)90099-8 - Pubmed