Odontogenic ghost cell carcinoma: A case report with reference to the relation between apoptosis and ghost cells

Jin Kim, Eun H. Lee, Jong I. Yook, Jee Y. Han, Jung H. Yoon, Gary L. Ellis

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The neoplastic variant of calcifying odontogenic cyst has various designations, and its malignant counterpart has been reported as aggressive epithelial odontogenic ghost cell tumor or odontogenic ghost cell carcinoma. We present a case of odontogenic ghost cell carcinoma with reference to the relation between the ghost cells and apoptosis. A 33-year-old man complained of a mandibular mass. The mass occupied the entire right side of the mandible with destruction of both buccal and lingual bone. The mass also infiltrated into submandibular and sublingual spaces. Histologically, the mass was composed of a solid proliferation of hyperchromatic and pleomorphic epithelial cells with abnormal mitoses. Islands of ghost cells were frequently admixed with nucleated cells, and there were foci of ameloblastic differentiation. Immunohistochemical stains for cytokeratins, involucrin, and apoptosis-related proteins such as Bcl-2, Bcl-XL, and Bax were done. Terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP-biotin nick-end labeling (TUNEL) assay was also performed. The nucleated cells adjacent to the ghost cells expressed cytokeratins and involucrin, but the ghost cells had no reaction. Bcl-2 was negative. Both Bcl-XL and Bax were demonstrated in the nucleated cells adjacent to the ghost cells. The ghost cells exhibited Bax protein. Some nucleated cells adjacent to the ghost cells were positive with TUNEL assay. The above results indicate that ghost cells undergo abnormal terminal differentiation as an apoptotic process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)630-635
Number of pages6
JournalOral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology, Oral Radiology, and Endodontics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2000 Nov


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Oral Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Dentistry(all)

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