Pale (Clear) Cell Acanthoma of the Palate

Prokopios P. Argyris, Dan Ho, Andrew C. Nelson, Ioannis G. Koutlas

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1 Scopus citations


Clear cell acanthoma (CCA), also known as pale cell acanthoma, represents a rare benign epidermal tumor with strong predilection for the lower extremities of middle-aged individuals and no frank gender preference. The etiology of CCA is poorly understood, although a localized psoriasiform reaction is favored. Herein, we report on the clinicopathologic and immunohistochemical features, and HPV status of an apparent example of oral CCA. A 58-year-old female presented with a well-circumscribed, asymptomatic, exophytic, sessile and erythematous nodule of the right hard palate, measuring 0.7 cm in greatest dimension. Microscopically, the lesion featured parakeratosis and acanthosis with neutrophilic microabscesses and broad elongated rete pegs. In areas, spinous epithelial cells exhibited pale or clear cytoplasm without nuclear pleomorphism, mitoses or cytologic atypia. The supporting connective tissue revealed mild chronic inflammation with few scattered neutrophils and numerous capillary vessels. PAS histochemical stain with and without diastase disclosed the presence of cytoplasmic glycogen in the pale cells. The majority of glycogen-rich epithelial cells stained strongly for EMA and were negative for D2-40. Ki-67 immunostaining was confined only to the basal cell layer of the epithelium. A diagnosis of CCA was rendered. The lesion was negative for human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, as assessed by HPV-DNA PCR using the MY09/11 primers for the L1 conserved region, thus HPV infection does not appear to contribute to the pathogenesis of oral CCA. In conclusion, we report an intraoral example of CCA in order to raise awareness about this entity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)535-541
Number of pages7
JournalHead and Neck Pathology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.


  • Clear cell acanthoma
  • Clear cell acanthosis
  • EMA
  • Glycogen-rich acanthoma
  • Oral cavity
  • Pale cell acanthoma

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Journal Article


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