HER2 expression in salivary gland carcinomas: Dependence on histological subtype CLINICAL CANCER RESEARCH Glisson, B., Colevas, A. D., Haddad, R., Krane, J., El-Naggar, A., Kies, M., Costello, R., Summey, C., Arquette, M., Langer, C., Amrein, P. C., Posner, M. 2004; 10 (3): 944-946


Previous evaluation of HER2 overexpression in salivary gland cancers indicated an incidence varying between 7 and 56%, with no clear difference among three histologically different subtypes. As part of a Phase II trial of trastuzumab for treatment of incurable salivary gland cancer, we screened 137 tumors for HER2 expression.Unstained sections of paraffin-embedded tumor samples were stained with p185/HER2 receptor antibody. Tumors with moderate (2+) to strong (3+) complete membrane staining in at least 10% of the tumor cells were scored as positive for overexpression.The overall frequency of overexpression for HER2 was 17% (23 of 137), whereas it was only 8% in the three most common histological subtypes screened. Overexpression was distinctly rare in the most common subtype screened, adenoid cystic carcinoma (4%, 3 of 70). Overexpression was very common in salivary duct cancers; 10 (83%) of 12 were positive for HER2. This observation is consistent with the typical high-grade histological features and aggressive behavior of this subtype as well as with its histogenetic similarity to breast cancer. Analysis based on histogenesis (intercalated duct versus excretory duct) indicated a higher frequency of overexpression in the latter (55%) than in the former (7%).Our overall results suggest that trastuzumab will not have a major role in treatment of salivary gland cancers of intercalated duct origin. Further systematic evaluation of trastuzumab in subtypes of excretory duct origin could be supported.

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View details for PubMedID 14871971