The distinction of cystic squamous-cell carcinoma (SCC) from benign cystic squamous lesions (BCSLs) of the head and neck can be problematic on fine-needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB) material, particularly when BCSLs display epithelial reactive atypia or when SCC is well differentiated. Glucose transporter 1 (GLUT-1), a facilitative cell surface glucose transport protein, is aberrantly expressed in many cancers including oral and hypopharyngeal SCC. We evaluated the expression of GLUT-1 by immunochemistry on FNAB material to determine its value in distinguishing cystic SCC from BCSL of the head and neck. A 5-yr retrospective review of all head and neck cystic squamous lesions having FNAB specimens with cell block material, radiological studies, and histological confirmation was performed at our institution. Cell block material from 24 cystic squamous lesions, including 8 (33%) BCSL (7 branchial cleft cysts and 1 thyroglossal duct cyst[TDC]) and 16 (67%) metastatic SCCs with cystic/liquefactive degeneration, was retrieved and immunostained with anti-GLUT-1. GLUT-1 expression was considered positive when at least 10% of squamous cells exhibited distinct cell membrane reactivity. Positive GLUT-1 immunostaining was detected in all 16 SCCs and in none of the 8 BCSLs. In the carcinoma cases, the majority of malignant cells exhibited GLUT-1 reactivity; only a minor population of well-differentiated SCC cells displaying keratinization and arranged as squamous pearls did not express GLUT-1. GLUT-1 expression in cell block material can help to distinguish cystic SCCs from BCSLs of the head and neck. In conjunction with clinical and radiological correlation, GLUT-1 immunoreactivity can be an important diagnostic aid when the cytological findings are ambiguous.
- Branchial cleft cyst
- Fine-needle aspiration biopsy
- Head and neck
- Squamous cell carcinoma
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine