Background: Calcifying odontogenic cyst was described first by Gorlin et al. in 1962; since then several hundreds of cases had been reported. In 1981, Prætorius et al. proposed a widely used classification. Afterwards, several authors proposed different classifications and discussed its neoplastic potential. The 2005 WHO Classification of Odontogenic Tumours re-named this entity as calcifying cystic odontogenic tumour (CCOT) and defined the clinico-pathological features of the ghost cell odontogenic tumours, the CCOT, the dentinogenic ghost cell tumour (DGCT) and the ghost cell odontogenic carcinoma (GCOC).
Methods: The aim of this paper was to review the clinical-pathological features of 122 CCOT, DGCT and GCOC cases retrieved from the files of the oral pathology laboratories from 14 institutions in Mexico, South Africa, Denmark, the USA, Brazil, Guatemala and Peru. It attempts to clarify and to group the clinico-pathological features of the analysed cases and to propose an objective, comprehensive and useful classification under the 2005 WHO classification guidelines.
Results: CCOT cases were divided into four sub-types: (i) simple cystic; (ii) odontoma associated; (iii) ameloblastomatous proliferating; and (iv) CCOT associated with benign odontogenic tumours other than odontomas. DGCT was separated into a central aggressive DGCT and a peripheral non-aggressive counterpart. For GCOC, three variants were identified. The first reported cases of a recurrent peripheral CCOT and a multiple synchronous, CCOT are included.
Conclusions: Our results suggest that ghost cell odontogenic tumours comprise a heterogeneous group of neoplasms which need further studies to define more precisely their biological behaviour.