Notch signaling is an evolutionarily conserved mechanism that enables adjacent cells to adopt different fates. Ghost cells (GCs) are anucleate cells with homogeneous pale eosinophilic cytoplasm and very pale to clear central areas (previous nucleus sites). Although GCs are present in a variety of odontogenic lesions notably the calcifying cystic odontogenic tumor (CCOT), their nature and process of formation remains elusive. The aim of this study was to investigate the role of Notch signaling in the cell fate specification of GCs in CCOT. Immunohistochemical staining for four Notch receptors (Notch1, Notch2, Notch3 and Notch4) and three ligands (Jagged1, Jagged2 and Delta1) was performed on archival tissues of five CCOT cases. Level of positivity was quantified as negative (0), mild (+), moderate (2+) and strong (3+). Results revealed that GCs demonstrated overexpression for Notch1 and Jagged1 suggesting that Notch1-Jagged1 signaling might serve as the main transduction mechanism in cell fate decision for GCs in CCOT. Protein localizations were largely membranous and/or cytoplasmic. Mineralized GCs also stained positive implicating that the calcification process might be associated with upregulation of these molecules. The other Notch receptors and ligands were weak to absent in GCs and tumoral epithelium. Stromal endothelium and fibroblasts were stained variably positive.
We reviewed the clinicopathological characteristics of 13 cases of calcifying epithelial odontogenic tumour (CEOT) (Pindborg tumour) diagnosed in the Division on Stomatology, Institute for Medical Research, Kuala Lumpur, over a 29-year period. There were eight female and five male patients. These consisted of eight (61.5 per cent) Malays, three (23.1 per cent) Chinese, one (7.7 per cent) Indian and one (7.7 per cent) Melanau. Their ages at presentation ranged from 19-61 years (mean age, 31.8 years). There were 12 central and one peripheral CEOT. Of these, 76.9 per cent of cases were located in the maxilla, the remaining in the mandible. The commonest clinical diagnosis was a dentigerous cyst (66.7 per cent). Enucleation was the main mode of treatment. Histologically, sheets and strands of polyhedral epithelial cells containing eosinophilic, homogeneous globules with Liesegang rings were observed. One case also showed extensive calcification and clear cell differentiation. Immunohistochemistry revealed a variable keratin staining of the CEOT epithelium, confirming its heterogeneity.
Calcifying odontogenic cysts (COCs) represent a group of lesions that may be broadly classified into two main entities: cysts and neoplasms. In the present study 30 non-neoplastic cystic COCs were examined by a quantitative histological method in an attempt to calibrate the relative distribution of the type of epithelial lining, intensity of ghost cell formation and the amount of dentinoid present. The results showed that there are two main types of cystic COC: an odontoma-producing type and a non-odontoma-producing variant. Morphologically, tooth-like structures were a valid distinguishing feature, while morphometrically the odontoma-producing variant showed a greater amount of luminal and mural dentinoid as well as luminal ghost cells. Demographic analysis also revealed that the odontoma-producing COC occurred in younger patients and showed an even sex distribution, whereas the non-odontoma-producing type was seen in older patients and showed a predilection for females. Both subtypes were more prevalent in the Chinese population and occurred preferentially in the maxilla.