Virchows Archiv

, Volume 473, Issue 3, pp 329–340 | Cite as

MicroRNA dysregulation in adenoid cystic carcinoma of the salivary gland in relation to prognosis and gene fusion status: a cohort study

  • Simon AndreasenEmail author
  • Qihua Tan
  • Tina Klitmøller Agander
  • Thomas V. O. Hansen
  • Petr Steiner
  • Kristine Bjørndal
  • Estrid Høgdall
  • Stine Rosenkilde Larsen
  • Daiva Erentaite
  • Caroline Holkmann Olsen
  • Benedicte Parm Ulhøi
  • Steffen Heegaard
  • Irene Wessel
  • Preben Homøe
Original Article


Adenoid cystic carcinoma (ACC) is among the most frequent malignancies of the salivary gland, and is notorious for its prolonged clinical course characterized by frequent recurrences often years after initial treatment. No molecular marker has been shown to have independent prognostic value in ACC, including characteristic gene fusions involving MYB, MYBL1, and NFIB. MicroRNA has been shown to be associated with clinical outcome in numerous malignancies, including one study of ACC, warranting further validation of this class of markers in this disease. Here, we investigate the prognostic value of microRNA in two ACC cohorts: a training cohort (n = 64) and a validation cohort (n = 120) with microarray and qPCR. In the training cohort, multivariate analysis of microarray data found high expression of hsa-miR-6835-3p to be associated with reduced recurrence-free survival (RFS) (p = 0.016). Measuring the highest ranking microRNAs identified in survival analysis in the same cohort, qPCR identified high expression of hsa-miR-4676 to be associated with reduced overall survival (OS) and high expression of hsa-mir-1180 to be associated with improved RFS. This was not confirmed in the validation cohort, in which qPCR identified high expression of hsa-mir-21, hsa-mir-181a-2, and hsa-mir-152 to be associated with reduced OS and high expression of hsa-miR-374c to be associated with improved RFS. Interestingly, two distinct subsets of ACC separated in microRNA expression irrespective of gene fusion status, but without significant difference in outcome. Collectively, qPCR identified several microRNAs associated with OS and RFS, and different subsets of ACC separated according to microRNA expression, suggestive of ACC being a heterogeneous group of malignancies in its microRNA profile.


Adenoid cystic carcinoma Salivary gland microRNA Prognosis MYB MYBL1 



We wish to thank Katarina Larsen and Lene Pedersen for valuable assistance with miRNA extraction.


SA was supported by Einar Willumsen Foundation, Merchant Kristjan Kjær and wife Margrethe Kjær’s Foundation, The Danielsen Foundation, Else and Mogens Wedell-Wedellsborg’s Foundation, Region Zealand’s Research Fund, Hans Skouby and wife Emma Skouby’s Foundation, and the A.P. Møller Foundation for the Advancement of Medical Research.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

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Table S5 (DOCX 119 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Simon Andreasen
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Qihua Tan
    • 3
  • Tina Klitmøller Agander
    • 4
  • Thomas V. O. Hansen
    • 5
  • Petr Steiner
    • 6
    • 7
  • Kristine Bjørndal
    • 8
  • Estrid Høgdall
    • 9
  • Stine Rosenkilde Larsen
    • 10
  • Daiva Erentaite
    • 11
  • Caroline Holkmann Olsen
    • 12
  • Benedicte Parm Ulhøi
    • 13
  • Steffen Heegaard
    • 4
    • 14
  • Irene Wessel
    • 2
  • Preben Homøe
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Otorhinolaryngology and Maxillofacial SurgeryZealand University HospitalKøgeDenmark
  2. 2.Department of Otorhinolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery and Audiology, RigshospitaletCopenhagenDenmark
  3. 3.Unit of Human Genetics, Department of Clinical ResearchUniversity of Southern DenmarkOdenseDenmark
  4. 4.Department of Pathology, RigshospitaletCopenhagenDenmark
  5. 5.Genomic Medicine, RigshospitaletCopenhagen University HospitalCopenhagenDenmark
  6. 6.Department of PathologyCharles University in Prague, Faculty of MedicinePilsenCzech Republic
  7. 7.Bioptic Laboratory Ltd, Molecular Pathology LaboratoryPilsenCzech Republic
  8. 8.Department of ORL–Head and Neck SurgeryOdense University HospitalOdenseDenmark
  9. 9.Department of Pathology, Herlev HospitalUniversity of CopenhagenHerlevDenmark
  10. 10.Department of PathologyOdense University HospitalOdenseDenmark
  11. 11.Department of PathologyAalborg University HospitalAalborgDenmark
  12. 12.Department of PathologyZealand University HospitalRoskildeDenmark
  13. 13.Department of PathologyAarhus University HospitalAarhusDenmark
  14. 14.Department of OphthalmologyRigshospitalet-GlostrupCopenhagenDenmark

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