High Tumor Grade in Salivary Gland Mucoepidermoid Carcinomas and Loss of Expression of Transforming Growth Factor β Receptor Type II | Head and Neck Cancer | JAMA Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery | JAMA Network
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Original Article
June 2001

High Tumor Grade in Salivary Gland Mucoepidermoid Carcinomas and Loss of Expression of Transforming Growth Factor β Receptor Type II

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery (Drs Dillard, Muller, and Del Gaudio) and Pathology and Laboratory Medicine (Drs Muller, Cohen, and Gal), and the School of Medicine (Dr Bloch), Emory University, Atlanta, Ga.

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2001;127(6):683-686. doi:10.1001/archotol.127.6.683

Background  Mucoepidermoid carcinoma (MEC) of salivary glands is a malignant, locally aggressive neoplasm with metastatic potential. The clinical course is usually dependent on histology; however, low-grade carcinomas can result in metastases and tumor-related death. Transforming growth factor β1 (TGF-β1) is a potent cytokine that affects growth inhibition of various cells and stimulates extracellular matrix production and angiogenesis. Loss of TGF-β receptor type II (TGF-β RII) expression has been related to resistance of TGF-β1–mediated growth control and tumor progression. In this study, we correlate MEC tumor grade with expression of TGF-β1 and TGF-β RII.

Design  Immunohistochemical staining was performed on 16 MEC specimens for activated forms of TGF-β1 and TGF-β RII. The percentage of cells in which staining yielded positive findings for activated TGF-β1 and TGF-β RII was correlated with tumor grade.

Results  Activated TGF-β1 was detected in 16 specimens (100%) of MEC and showed strong positive and diffuse staining. Predominately cytoplasmic staining of TGF-β1 was seen in salivary gland ducts, stroma, and endothelial cells. There was an inverse correlation between tumor grade and loss of expression of TGF-β RII. All low-grade MEC tumors yielded positive staining results, whereas only one case of intermediate-grade MEC had TGF-β RII expression. No high-grade MEC showed TGF-β RII expression.

Conclusions  Loss of expression of TGF-β RII correlates with tumor grade. The localization of activated TGF-β1 within neoplastic epithelium, tumor-associated stroma, and endothelium suggests that it might play a role in the stromal proliferation and/or angiogenesis associated with MEC.