Date: 12/4/14 Multicystic(solid) Ameloblastoma Ameloblastoma is a benign odontogenic tumor. There are three types of
ameloblastoma based on their clinical presentation, treatment and prognosis. Those
are multicystic (solid), unicystic and peripheral ameloblastoma. The multicystic
ameloblastoma is a benign epithelial odontogenic tumor of the jaw. It accounts 10%
of all odontogenic tumors in the jaw. It is a slow growing, locally aggressive and has
a high recurrence rate if not adequately removed. This ameloblastoma lesion occurs
80% in the mandibular, usually on the posterior area. A notable exception is Black
African; it can occur in any area of the mandible for them. It can occur in maxillary
as well but very rare. Posterior maxillary tumors can invade sinus and extent
It is an expansile multilocular radiolucent cystic lesion of the posterior mandibular
extending from the mid region of the mandibular body to the upper ramus with
a “soap bubble-like” appearance. Clinically, patient may present with a slow-
growing mass, malocclusion, loose teeth, and more rarely paresthesia and pain.
Some patient may be asymptomatic to the lesion and so the detection can be done
through radiographs. It is an age related lesion but not a gender related lesion. Most
lesions are diagnosed during the early age, the median age is 35 years old.
Sometimes, the lesion is associated with unerrupted tooth in young adult age.
Histologically, most of ameloblastomas have the follicular and plexiform pattern.
Multicystic ameloblastoma shows anastomosing cords of odontogenic epithelium in a
fibrous stroma. There is no relationship between the individual patterns and the behavior
of the tumor or its prognosis. That’s why the pathologists do not report histologic pattern.
It may confuse the diagnostic findings among multicystic, unicystic and peripheral
Treatment for this lesion is surgery. Wide resection surgery is recommended due to the
high recurrence rate of the solid/multicystic ameloblastomas. Surgery can include
removing of the lesion and reconstruction of the planes. The recurrence rate after
resection is 13-15%. Curettage treatment has 90-100% recurrence rate. Margin of 1.5-
2cm beyond the radiological limit is recommended to ensure all microcysts are properly
removed. Undertreatment is the main cause for the recurrence lesion. Thus, treatment is
the most important prognostic factor. Radiotherapy is also considered for the patients
with positive margins who are not compliant to re-excision or for patients with advanced
lesion. Unresectable lesions can be treated with radiation or combined radiation and
chemotherapy. There are some rare cases in which ameloblastoma can be
metastasized (malignant) through the lymphatic with the lungs being the most common
site, followed by cervical lymph nodes and spine.
As a Dental Hygiene professional, one should be able to distinguish the various lesions
that occur inter-orally such as ameloblastoma. Extra/Intra-oral cancer screening
assessment is the very first step we dental professionals do before we do any intervention
in the patient mouth. Clinical findings play critical role in the assessment of
ameloblastoma lesion along with the radiographs.
References (1) Anastassov, G., Rodriguez, E., Adamo, A., & Friedman, J. (1998). Case report. Aggressive ameloblastoma treated with radiotherapy, surgical ablation and reconstruction. Journal Of The American Dental Association (JADA), 129(1), 84-87.
(2) Bachmann, A. M., & Linfesty, R. L. (2009). Ameloblastoma, Solid/Multicystic Type. Head and Neck Pathology, 3(4), 307–309. doi:10.1007/s12105-009-0144-z