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WHO Classification of Tumours
Mucoepidermoid carcinoma
Thyroid gland


A carcinoma morphologically characterized by the presence of cuboidal mucous cells, goblet-like mucous cells, squamoid cells, cystic changes, and a fibrotic stromal formation. It is classified as low or high grade.

Mucoepidermoid carcinoma (MEC) of the thyroid comprises about 0.5% of all thyroid malignancies

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Franssila KO, Harach HR, Wasenius VM (1984)
Mucoepidermoid carcinoma of the thyroid.
Histopathology 8: 847-60

and shares most of the epidemiological features of papillary carcinoma
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Rocha AS, Soares P, Machado JC, Máximo V, Fonseca E, Franssila K, Sobrinho-Simões M (2002)
Mucoepidermoid carcinoma of the thyroid: a tumour histotype characterised by P-cadherin neoexpression and marked abnormalities of E-cadherin/catenins complex.
Virchows Arch 440: 498-504

. This tumour affects women more frequently than men (2:1), and has a bimodal age distribution.
Thyroid MECs are low grade malignant tumours with an indolent biological behaviour and excellent long term prognosis

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Cameselle-Teijeiro J, Febles-Pérez C, Sobrinho-Simões M (1995)
Papillary and mucoepidermoid carcinoma of the thyroid with anaplastic transformation: a case report with histologic and immunohistochemical findings that support a provocative histogenetic hypothesis.
Pathol Res Pract 191: 1214-21

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Vázquez Ramírez F, Otal Salaverri C, Argueta Manzano O, Galera Ruíz H, González-Cámpora R (2000)
Fine needle aspiration cytology of high grade mucoepidermoid carcinoma of the thyroid. A case report.
Acta Cytol 44: 259-64

. Extrathyroidal invasion and regional nodal metastases may occur but distant metastases are rare
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Ronald A. DeLellis, Ricardo V. Lloyd, Philipp U. Heitz, Charis Eng
World Health Organization Classification of Tumours. Pathology and Genetics of Tumors of Endocrine Organs
IARC Press: Lyon 2004