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Expression of Hormone Receptors and HER-2 in Benign and Malignant Salivary Gland Tumors


With the advent of targeted therapies, expression of sex hormone receptors and HER-2 in salivary gland tumors (SGTs) is of clinical interest. Previous reports of estrogen (ER) and progesterone (PR) receptor expression have varied. Androgen receptor (AR) and HER-2 overexpression are frequently reported in salivary duct carcinoma (SDC), but have not been studied systematically in other SGTs. This study examines ER, PR, AR, and HER-2 expression in SGTs. Immunohistochemistry for ER, PR, AR, and HER-2 was performed on 254 SGTs (134 malignant). ER, PR, and AR expression was scored using Allred system. HER-2 expression was scored using Dako HercepTest guidelines. FISH for HER-2 amplification was performed on select cases with HER-2 overexpression (2-3+). No SGT demonstrated strong expression of ER or PR. Combined strong AR and HER-2 expression was seen in 22 carcinomas: 14/25 SDC, 3/16 poorly differentiated, two oncocytic, and one each carcinoma ex pleomorphic adenoma, squamous cell, and intraductal carcinoma. Eighteen additional high grade carcinomas had HER-2 overexpression with absent, weak, or moderate AR expression; eight high grade carcinomas had isolated strong AR expression with 0-1+ HER-2 staining. Of 15 tested cases, six demonstrated HER-2 amplification by FISH, all of which had 3+ immunoreactivity. Neither benign nor malignant SGTs had strong expression of ER or PR. None of the benign SGTs overexpressed AR or HER-2. Coexpression of AR and HER-2 should not define SDC, but immunostaining should be considered in high grade salivary carcinomas, as some show overexpression and may benefit from targeted therapy.

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