An Unusual Gingival (Peripheral) Tumor with Features of Keratoameloblastoma with Cytologic Atypia or Possible Malignant Transformation Exhibiting ARID1A Mutation

Ivan J. Stojanov, Dan P Ho, Joseph Huss, Rajaram Gopalakrishnan, Jennifer M. Yoest, Ioannis G. Koutlas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Keratoameloblastoma is a poorly characterized and rarely reported odontogenic neoplasm that can exhibit overlapping histopathologic features with conventional ameloblastoma and keratocystic odontogenic tumor (KCOT), with an ambiguous relationship to the so-called solid KCOT. Methods: A peripheral maxillary tumor causing bone saucerization in a 54-year-old male is described and investigated with immunohistochemistry and Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS). Results: Microscopically, the tumor comprised of a predominantly plexiform proliferation of odontogenic epithelium with central keratinization and evidence of surface origin. Peripheral cells exhibited nuclear palisading with variable reverse polarization, while stellate reticulum-like areas were observed internally. A few follicles and a few foci in the lining of cystic spaces revealed increased cellularity with cells exhibiting small but conspicuous nucleoli, focal nuclear hyperchromatism, and a few mitoses mostly seen in the peripheral outer cell layer. Nuclear staining for ki-67 was increased in those areas when compared with the other cystic, follicular, and plexiform areas. These features were interpreted as cytologic atypia suggesting also the possibility of a malignant process. Immunohistochemically, the tumor was positive for CK19 and negative for BRAF VE1, calretinin, and CD56. Ber-Ep4 was only focally positive. By sequencing, an ARID1A c.6527_6538delAG frameshift mutation (VAF: 5.8%), classified as likely oncogenic, and an FBXW7 c.1627 A > G missense mutation (VAF: 8.0%), classified as a variant of uncertain significance, were detected. Two mutations, probably germline (VAF ~ 50%), were recorded for RNF43 and FBXW7. No pathogenic variants were identified in PTCH1, BRAF, NRAS, HRAS, KRAS, FGFR2, or SMO genes. Conclusion: The significance of an ARID1A variant in keratoameloblastoma is uncertain since this variant has not been reported in ameloblastoma or KCOT, to date. Alternatively, it may characterize malignant transformation in the present case since ARID1A mutations have been encountered in various cancers. Sequencing of additional cases is necessary to determine whether this may represent a recurrent genomic event.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalHead and Neck Pathology
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The study was funded by the University of Minnesota Oral Pathology Research Fund (internal funding).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


  • Ameloblastoma
  • Carcinoma cuniculatum
  • Keratoameloblastoma
  • Keratocystic odontogenic tumor
  • Odontogenic keratocyst

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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