Submit Your Article CMED MEACR meeting
Home Print this page Email this page Users Online: 286
Home About us Editorial board Search Ahead of print Current issue Archives Submit article Instructions Subscribe Contacts Login 

 Table of Contents  
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 408-410

Clear cell odontogenic carcinoma: A rare case

1 Department of Oral Pathology and Microbiology, A. B. Shetty Memorial Institute of Dental Sciences, Deralakatte, Mangalore, Karnataka, India
2 Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, A. B. Shetty Memorial Institute of Dental Sciences, Deralakatte, Mangalore, Karnataka, India

Date of Web Publication13-May-2015

Correspondence Address:
Garima Jain
Department of Oral Pathology and Microbiology, A. B. Shetty Memorial Institute of Dental Sciences, Deralakatte, Mangalore - 575 018, Karnataka
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2278-0513.151949

Rights and Permissions

Clear cell odontogenic carcinoma is a rare neoplasm with very few cases reported in the literature. We report a case of a 50-year-old female patient with the malignancy at a less common location. Diagnosis was given based on the histopathologic findings. The demographic data and understanding for this tumor needs to be strengthened by reporting all new cases, which are diagnosed, in literature.

Keywords: Clear cell, malignancy, odontogenic

How to cite this article:
Jain G, Hegde P, Shetty P. Clear cell odontogenic carcinoma: A rare case. Clin Cancer Investig J 2015;4:408-10

How to cite this URL:
Jain G, Hegde P, Shetty P. Clear cell odontogenic carcinoma: A rare case. Clin Cancer Investig J [serial online] 2015 [cited 2021 May 16];4:408-10. Available from:

  Introduction Top

Clear cell odontogenic carcinoma (CCOC) is a very uncommon neoplasm, and few cases have been reported in English-language literature. According to a recent paper by Kalsi et al., only 74 such cases have been described so far. [1] In addition, odontogenic tumors with a significant number of clear cells are rare. [2] First described by Hansen et al. in 1985, CCOC was initially considered as benign, but locally invasive. [3] Later, World Health Organization in 2005 reclassified it as a malignant tumor of odontogenic origin, owing to its aggressive nature, infiltrative behavior, local recurrence tendency, lymph node and distant metastasis, especially pulmonary. [3] The authors hereby report this rare case.

  Case report Top

A 50-year-old female patient reported to hospital, with the chief complaint of swelling and a nonhealing ulcer in the left upper jaw since 2 weeks. Onset of the lesion was insidious, although the patient relates the increase in size of the lesion after extraction of teeth from left maxillary posterior region, 1-week prior to the complaint. According to the patient, all the teeth in that area were grossly decayed and nonmobile. Patient had a habit of pan chewing since 1-year. There was no relevant family or medical history, and physical examination was noncontributory.

On extraoral examination, there was a diffuse swelling of 4 cm × 3 cm approximately on the left side of the face, making the extraoral appearance asymmetrical. This swelling was mainly present over maxilla and zygomatic arch, extending below up to the corner of the mouth and medially 1 cm away from the ala of nose. Posterior extension was up to the lateral canthus of the eye. None of the lymph nodes were palpable.

On intraoral examination, a swelling was present on the maxillary ridge which was approximately, 5 cm × 5 cm and extending in the region of 25 to 28. The intraoral lesion was pink red in color and ulcero-proliferative [Figure 1]. Lesion appeared to be intrabony, was tender on percussion and indurated.

Orthopantomograph showed an osteolytic area extending from the distal aspect of 25 to 28 region [Figure 2]. This area was covered with a slightly radiopaque soft tissue shadow. Paranasal sinus view revealed haziness of the left maxillary sinus.
Figure 1: Intraoral finding: Swelling on maxillary posterior ridge, ulceroproliferative

Click here to view
Figure 2: Orthopantomograph shows osteolytic area extending from distal aspect of 25 to 28 region (covered by soft tissue shadow)

Click here to view

There were no known primary tumors in any other part of the body. Considering a clinical differential diagnosis of squamous cell carcinoma of the maxilla, an incisional biopsy was performed. Histopathological examination showed epithelium and minimum connective tissue. Epithelium consisted of basal columnar and squamous cells; and suprabasal polygonal cells [Figure 3]. Suprabasal cells showed a biphasic pattern containing both clear cells and more hyperchromatic appearing polygonal cells [Figure 4]. Epithelial islands were separated by zones of mature, fibrous and partially hyalinized connective tissue stroma [Figure 3]. Some epithelial cells showed highly dysplastic features like nuclear hyperchromatism, increased nuclear-cytoplasmic ratio and abnormal mitotic figures.
Figure 3: Photomicrograph shows abundant odontogenic epithelial islands separated by zones of mature, fibrous and partially hyalinized connective tissue stroma (H and E, ×100)

Click here to view
Figure 4: Photomicrograph shows basal columnar and squamous cells; and suprabasal polygonal cells in biphasic pattern with clear cells and hyperchromatic polygonal cells (H and E, ×400)

Click here to view

A diagnosis of Clear cell odontogenic carcinoma (CCOC )was made.

  Discussion Top

Clear cell odontogenic carcinoma is an epithelial neoplasm of odontogenic origin which is defined as a benign, but locally invasive neoplasm characterized by sheets and islands of uniform, vacuolated, and clear cells. [4] It usually occurs in the fifth to the seventh decade, has female predilection and mostly located in the anterior region of the mandible. [1],[2],[5] Other common clinical features are jaw enlargement and mild pain in the affected area, which were present in the present case.

The present case was unusual as clear cell containing odontogenic tumors are rare, and very few cases are reported to involve posterior maxilla. Most of the authors have reported this disease entity in mandible with few exceptions like Elbeshir et al. who reported one case in posterior maxilla, and Kalsi et al. and Iezzi et al. who reported CCOC in anterior maxilla. [1],[3],[4],[5],[6],[7],[8],[9] Other odontogenic tumors containing clear cells are clear cell variant of calcifying odontogenic tumor and clear cell ameloblastoma. [4] Clear cell component can be expected in odontogenic tumors, as they arise from dental lamina. [3]

Clear cells are seen in any lesion due to intracellular accumulation of nonstaining compounds, that is, glycogen, lipid, mucin; a scarcity of cell organelles or artefact induced during tissue fixation or processing. [3] Other clear cell containing lesions may be salivary gland tumors, metastatic renal cell carcinoma, melanocytic tumors, and odontogenic epithelial linings in periodontal cysts. [3]
"Clear cell odontogenic carcinoma exhibits three histologic patterns: Biphasic, monophasic, and ameloblastomatous." [3] The present case had a biphasic pattern like most such tumors, with nests of clear cells among small islands of hyperchromic polygonal cells with cytoplasmic eosinophilia. These findings were similar to the findings in other cases reported by Kalsi et al., Xavier et al. and Braunshtein et al. [1],[3],[4] In monophasic pattern, presenting islands consist entirely of clear cells. The ameloblastomatous pattern is characterized by clear cells arranged in nests within networks of follicles. [3],[6]

Nuclear pleomorphism and hyperchromatism, and the number of mitoses are quite variable. [4] The present case showed all these features. Furthermore, these lesions are rarely encapsulated and show frequent invasion into the medullary bone, muscle, and neural tissues. [3] The abnormal cells can surround the periphery of the tumor islands or may form ductal structures. [3] Solid cellular aggregates traversed by dense fibrous septa may be usually found and were also seen in the present case. [2]

Mucicarmine staining in the present case showed negative results and thus the salivary gland tumors were ruled out. The histopathology showing biphasic pattern of cells and separation of islands by mature fibrous stroma, were similar to that found by Yamamoto et al. and Xavier et al., and helped to identify the present case as CCOC. [3],[7],[8]

Ultrastructural characteristics of epithelial differentiation, glycogen pools, paucity of organelles, and the absence of myoepithelial elements may help in the identification of clear cell component and thus CCOC. [3] Positive immunohistochemical staining for cytokeratins 8, 13 and 19; as well as occasional positivity for epithelial membrane antigen, filaggrin, and antiameloblastoma antigen have also been reported. [5],[10] These tumors are usually negative for S-100 protein, smooth muscle actin, glial fibrillary acidic protein, vimentin, and involucrin. [10]

Clear cell odontogenic carcinoma shows a recurrence rate of 34% after resection. Management of CCOC is done by resection with a wide margin and long-term follow-up is required. [9]

  Conclusion Top

As CCOC is a rare lesion, and very few cases have been reported in the literature, the clinical, histologic and immunohistochemical properties of this tumor are not fully understood. The demographic data for this tumor needs to be strengthened by reporting all new cases, which are diagnosed, in literature. Also, it should always be considered as a differential diagnosis in jaw tumors with a clear cell component.

  References Top

Kalsi AS, Williams SP, Shah KA, Fasanmade A. Clear cell odontogenic carcinoma: A rare neoplasm of the maxillary bone. J Oral Maxillofac Surg 2014;72:935-8.  Back to cited text no. 1
Reichart PA, Philipsen HP. Odontogenic Tumors and Allied Lesions.  London: Quintessence Publishing Co. Ltd.; 2004.  Back to cited text no. 2
Xavier FC, Rodini CO, Ramalho LM, Sarmento VA, Nunes FD, de Sousa SC. Clear cell odontogenic carcinoma: Case report with immunohistochemical findings adding support to the challenging diagnosis. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol Endod 2008;106:403-10.  Back to cited text no. 3
Braunshtein E, Vered M, Taicher S, Buchner A. Clear cell odontogenic carcinoma and clear cell ameloblastoma: A single clinicopathologic entity? A new case and comparative analysis of the literature. J Oral Maxillofac Surg 2003;61:1004-10.  Back to cited text no. 4
Iezzi G, Rubini C, Fioroni M, Piattelli A. Clear cell odontogenic carcinoma. Oral Oncol 2002;38:209-13.  Back to cited text no. 5
Maiorano E, Altini M, Viale G, Piattelli A, Favia G. Clear cell odontogenic carcinoma. Report of two cases and review of the literature. Am J Clin Pathol 2001;116:107-14.  Back to cited text no. 6
Avninder S, Rakheja D, Bhatnagar A. Clear cell odontogenic carcinoma: A diagnostic and therapeutic dilemma. World J Surg Oncol 2006;4:91.  Back to cited text no. 7
Yamamoto H, Inui M, Mori A, Tagawa T. Clear cell odontogenic carcinoma: A case report and literature review of odontogenic tumors with clear cells. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol Endod 1998;86:86-9.  Back to cited text no. 8
Elbeshir EI, Harris M, Barrett AW. Clear cell odontogenic carcinoma of the maxilla: Clinical, histological and immunohistochemical features of a case. Oral Oncol Extra 2004;40:91-4.  Back to cited text no. 9
Woolgar JA, Triantafyllou A, Ferlito A, Devaney KO, Lewis JS Jr, Rinaldo A, et al. Intraosseous carcinoma of the jaws: A clinicopathologic review. Part II: Odontogenic carcinomas. Head Neck 2013;35:902-5.  Back to cited text no. 10


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4]


Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
 Related articles
Access Statistics
Email Alert *
Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)

  In this article
Case report
Article Figures

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded22    
    Comments [Add]    

Recommend this journal