Cytopathological findings of secretory carcinoma of the salivary gland and the diagnostic utility of giemsa staining

Yuria Egusa, Midori Filiz Nishimura, Satoko Baba, Kengo Takeuchi, Takuma Makino, Tomoyasu Tachibana, Asami Nishikori, Azusa Fujita, Hiroyuki Yanai, Yasuharu Sato

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Secretory carcinoma is a salivary gland neoplasm first described as a mammary analogue secretory carcinoma by Skalova and redesignated as a secretory carcinoma in the 2017 World Health Organization Classification of Head and Neck Tumors. Secretory carcinoma diagnosis is reliant on specific cytological and histological findings and the detection of an ETV6-NTRK3 fusion gene. Here, we examined the clinical and cytopathological features of four cases of secretory carcinoma occurring in three males and a female, aged between 39 and 74 years. All four tumors involved the parotid gland, and were found to have the ETV6-NTRK3 fusion gene. Fine-needle aspiration-based cytology smears of all tumors displayed papillary and/or dendritic pattern clusters, some of which were associated with blood vessels. The neoplastic cells displayed enlarged nuclei with fine chromatin and small, distinct, single nucleoli. Furthermore, several neoplastic cells with a characteristic vacuolated cytoplasm were identified in each specimen. Giemsa staining revealed cytoplasmic vacuolation, intracytoplasmic metachromatic secretions and/or various sized metachromatic granules, and a background of metachromatic mucin in all four specimens. Given this, we conclude that these cytological findings, especially those of the Giemsa staining, might be helpful in the diagnosis of secretory carcinoma.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2284
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Cytopathology
  • ETV6-NTRK3 fusion
  • Fine-needle aspiration
  • Giemsa staining
  • Mammary analogue secretory carcinoma
  • Salivary gland
  • Secretory carcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry


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