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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We would like to thank the staff at the Human Tissue Resource Center at the University of Chicago, particularly Terri Li, for their assistance with this project.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. For this type of study formal consent is not required.
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