Epithelial-myoepithelial carcinoma: a review of the clinicopathologic spectrum and immunophenotypic characteristics in 61 tumors of the salivary glands and upper aerodigestive tract

Am J Surg Pathol. 2007 Jan;31(1):44-57. doi: 10.1097/01.pas.0000213314.74423.d8.


To further define the clinicopathologic spectrum of epithelial-myoepithelial carcinoma (EMCa), we report the gross, histologic, and immunophenotypic characteristics of 61 tumors seen within a 30-year-period. The mean age at presentation was 60.9 years, with a female predominance (1.5:1). The most common sites were parotid (62.1%), sinonasal mucoserous glands (10.3%), palate (8.6%), and submandibular (8.6%). Most EMCas showed a characteristic nodular/multinodular growth pattern and classic biphasic tubular histology. However, new morphologies in EMCa such as ancient change (8.2%), "Verocay"-like change (3.3%), and sebaceous differentiation (13.1%) were noted. Specific histologic variants were dedifferentiated EMCa (3.3%), oncocytic EMCa (8.2%), EMCa ex pleomorphic adenoma (1.6%), double-clear EMCa (3.3%), and EMCa with myoepithelial anaplasia (3.3%). All cytokeratin cocktails selectively highlighted the epithelial component well. Of the myoepithelial markers, p63, smooth muscle actin and vimentin performed best. Bcl-2 and c-kit were frequently positive (66.7% and 69.2%, respectively). p53 was highly expressed only in 1 dedifferentiated EMCa. The recurrence rate was 36.3% (median disease-free survival 11.34 y), but death was rare with 5-year and 10-year disease-specific survivals of 93.5% and 81.8%, respectively. The most important univariate predictors of recurrence were margin status (log rank P=0.006), angiolymphatic invasion (P=0.002), tumor necrosis (P=0.004), and myoepithelial anaplasia (P=0.038). Thus, EMCa is generally a low-grade tumor with a broader morphologic spectrum than previously thought, with several key features predictive of recurrence. Immunohistochemistry can aid diagnosis by highlighting the biphasic nature of the tumor.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis
  • Carcinoma / chemistry
  • Carcinoma / mortality
  • Carcinoma / secondary*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mixed Tumor, Malignant / chemistry
  • Mixed Tumor, Malignant / mortality
  • Mixed Tumor, Malignant / secondary*
  • Myoepithelioma / chemistry
  • Myoepithelioma / mortality
  • Myoepithelioma / secondary*
  • Phenotype
  • Salivary Gland Neoplasms / chemistry
  • Salivary Gland Neoplasms / mortality
  • Salivary Gland Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Stomatognathic System / pathology*
  • Survival Rate


  • Biomarkers, Tumor