Tumor Biology

, Volume 37, Issue 8, pp 10959–10964 | Cite as

Toll-like receptor 5 and 7 expression in adenoid cystic carcinoma of major salivary glands

  • K. Hirvonen
  • L. Bäck
  • C. Haglund
  • I. Leivo
  • L. Jouhi
  • A. A. Mäkitie
  • J. Hagström
Original Article


Adenoid cystic carcinoma (ACC) of the salivary glands has a poor long-term prognosis and high metastatic rate. Toll-like receptors (TLRs) have been related to tumour progression but have also tumour growth-inhibiting responses. To the best of our knowledge, they have not been studied previously in ACC. We studied the immunoexpression of TLR 5 and 7 in ACC of the major salivary glands. From a cohort of 54 patients with ACC of the major salivary glands treated at the Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Helsinki University Hospital, Helsinki, Finland in 1974–2009, there were 34 primary tumours and six metastases available for immunohistochemical analysis. Immunohistochemical expression of TLR 5 and 7 were correlated to clinicopathological findings and patient survival. Both TLR 5 and 7 were expressed in ACCs and their metastases, mostly on the cell membranes. The expression was heterogeneous in individual tumours. TLR 5 was expressed less in male samples, and TLR 7 had lower expression in ACCs with solid growth pattern. No correlation with survival was found. In the normal salivary gland, the TLR 5 and 7 expression was mainly negative. Both TLR 5 and 7 are expressed in salivary adenoid cystic carcinoma on the cell membranes as well as in cytoplasm.


Head and neck cancer Salivary gland cancer Immunohistochemistry Metastasis 



Adenoid cystic carcinoma


Toll-like receptor


Overall survival


Disease-specific survival


Disease-free survival


Danger-associated molecular pattern


Pathogen-associated molecular pattern




Pattern-recognition receptor


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest


Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© International Society of Oncology and BioMarkers (ISOBM) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. Hirvonen
    • 1
    • 5
  • L. Bäck
    • 1
  • C. Haglund
    • 2
  • I. Leivo
    • 3
  • L. Jouhi
    • 1
  • A. A. Mäkitie
    • 1
  • J. Hagström
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck SurgeryUniversity of Helsinki and Helsinki University HospitalHelsinkiFinland
  2. 2.Department of Surgery, Helsinki University Hospital, Helsinki, Finland and Research Programs Unit, Translational Cancer BiologyUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  3. 3.Department of PathologyUniversity of TurkuTurkuFinland
  4. 4.Department of PathologyUniversity of Helsinki and Helsinki University HospitalHelsinkiFinland
  5. 5.Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck SurgeryHelsinki University HospitalHelsinkiFinland

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