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Journal of Thoracic Oncology:
doi: 10.1097/JTO.0b013e3181d5e494
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Tracheal Mucoepidermoid Carcinoma

Oki, Masahide MD, PhD*; Saka, Hideo MD*; Moritani, Suzuko MD, PhD†

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*Departments of Respiratory Medicine and †Pathology, Nagoya Medical Center, Nagoya, Japan.

Disclosure: The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Address for correspondence: Masahide Oki, MD, Department of Respiratory Medicine, Nagoya Medical Center, 4-1-1 Sannomaru, Naka-ku, Nagoya 460-0001, Japan. E-mail:

Informed consent in writing publication was obtained from the patient.

A 56-year-old man was referred for bronchoscopic evaluation and treatment of a tracheal tumor. He was an ex-smoker with a 20-pack-year smoking history, who had quit smoking 16 years ago. He had complained shortness of breath and coughing to the referring physician 1 month before. An airway lesion was suspected because of a wheeze detected on examination. Chest computed tomography was taken, and a polypoid tumor was found just above the main carina (Fig. 1).

Figure 1
Figure 1
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Bronchoscopic resection was performed using a rigid and flexible bronchoscope under general anesthesia. Bronchoscopy demonstrated the presence of a glossy, lobulated, exophytic endoluminal mass with a broad base, which arose from the right anterior wall of the lower trachea (Fig. 2). The tumor was ablated with argon plasma coagulation and electrocautery. Histopathology revealed a low-grade mucoepidermoid carcinoma with squamoid differentiation that grew in a sheet-like pattern and contained few mitotic figures and numerous mucous-filled cystic spaces (Fig. 3). Respiratory symptoms and pulmonary function improved immediately (forced expiratory volume in 1 second1: from 0.59 to 2.39 liter; peak expiratory flow: from 1.09 to 9.03 liter/sec) after the procedure. The patient was discharged 5 days thereafter. He was reluctant to undergo surgical treatment and has, thus, been under careful observation.

Figure 2
Figure 2
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Figure 3
Figure 3
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Mucoepidermoid carcinoma is a rare tumor, which arises from the bronchial glands. Its frequency has been reported to be ∼0.2% of all lung tumors.1

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1. Leonardi HK, Jung-Legg Y, Legg MA, et al. Tracheobronchial mucoepidermoid carcinoma. Clinicopathological features and results of treatment. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 1978;76:431–438.

© 2010International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer


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