World Health Organization: Classification of tumours, Pathology and Genetics, Head and Neck Tumours

Author(s): Barnes L, Eveson JW


The current case of conjunctival mucoepidermoid carcinoma offers features that expand the biologic spectrum afforded by this tumor. More focused strategies should be developed for its earlier histopathologic diagnosis and improved management (historical recurrence rate of 85%). A 63-year-old woman with a history of rheumatoid arthritis and idiopathic sclerosing cholangitis developed scleral thinning, anterior chamber cells and flare, and uveal prolapse. Biopsies of the epibulbar lesion were initially misinterpreted as a squamous cell carcinoma but on review harbored CK7-positive cells and contained rare goblet cells brought out with Alcian blue and mucicarmine staining. Intraocular extension exhibited micro-and macrocysts with minimal goblet cells. Focal CK7 immunopositivity in any epibulbar squamous dysplasia or in invasive carcinoma should lead to suspicion of a mucoepidermoid carcinoma. Behaviorally aggressive or rapidly recurrent epithelial squamous tumors with “inflammatory” features or unusual clinical characteristics should be initially stained at multiple levels for the detection of parsimonious mucus secretion. Surgical options include wide excision and partial sclerectomy with cryotherapy for superficial invasion and/or interferon therapy. Results with radiotherapy and cryotherapy for deep scleral invasion have been unpredictable or unacceptable compared with surgery.

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