Intraductal carcinoma (IDC) is a salivary gland tumor currently believed to be analogous to breast ductal carcinoma in situ, consisting of a complex neoplastic epithelial proliferation surrounded by a continuous layer of myoepithelial cells presumed to be native and non-neoplastic. Recent molecular insights have shown that there are at least 3 different types of IDC: (1) intercalated duct-like, with frequent NCOA4-RET fusions; (2) apocrine, with multiple mutations similar to salivary duct carcinoma; and (3) mixed intercalated duct-like and apocrine with frequent RET fusions, especially TRIM27-RET. Recent observations (eg, IDC occurring in lymph nodes) have challenged the notion that the myoepithelial cells of IDC are non-neoplastic. Five IDCs with known RET fusions by RNA sequencing were retrieved from the authors' archives, including 4 intercalated duct-like IDCs with NCOA4-RET, and 1 mixed intercalated duct-like/apocrine IDC with TRIM27-RET. A panel of immunohistochemistry antibodies (S100 protein, p63 or p40, mammaglobin, smooth muscle actin, calponin, androgen receptor) was tested. To precisely localize RET split-positive cells, each case was subjected to sequential retrieval of whole-slide imaging data of hematoxylin and eosin (HE) staining, immunofluorescence staining for calponin, and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) for RET. Because NCOA4-RET is an inversion difficult to visualize on conventional RET FISH, a novel 3-color FISH technique was utilized to demonstrate it clearly. In all 5 cases, the proliferative ducts were completely surrounded by a layer of myoepithelial cells that were positive for p63 or p40, smooth muscle actin, and calponin. Using combined HE, calponin immunofluorescence, and RET FISH imaging, the positive signals were unmistakably identified in both calponin-negative ductal cells and peripheral, calponin-positive myoepithelial cells in all 5 cases. Utilizing combined HE, calponin immunofluorescence, and RET FISH imaging, we demonstrated that IDCs with RET fusions harbored this alteration in both the ductal and myoepithelial cells. This is compelling evidence that the myoepithelial cells of IDC are not mere bystanders, but are rather a component of the neoplasm itself, similar to other biphasic salivary gland neoplasms like pleomorphic adenoma and epithelial-myoepithelial carcinoma. This finding raises questions about the appropriate terminology, classification, and staging of IDC.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine