To elucidate the genetic alterations that occur in salivary gland tumors, we screened every autosomal arm (and the X-chromosome) of 29 primary human salivary gland neoplasms (11 pleomorphic adenomas, 10 adenoid cystic carcinomas, 5 mucoepidermoid carcinomas, and 3 carcinoma ex-mixed tumors) for allelic loss using 86 microsatellite markers. A minimum of two microsatellite markers were used per chromosomal arm to achieve informativity of at least 60% (excluding X). The pleomorphic adenomas demonstrated few areas of allelic loss; the most prominent chromosomal arm involved was 12q, lost in more than 35% of informative cases. The most significant allelic losses in adenoid cystic carcinoma were 1p, 2p, 6q, 17p, and 20p (> 20% of informative cases) and 19q (40% of informative cases). Mucoepidermoid carcinoma showed 50% or greater loss at 2q, 5p, 12p, and 16q. Although losses at 9p, 3p, and 17p are common in squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck, only the carcinoma ex-mixed tumors demonstrated loss at these loci, consistent with progression to a more aggressive phenotype. Salivary gland tumors display allelic loss patterns different from many other tumor types, suggesting distinct genetic pathways in the progression of these tumors.


This work was supported by Lung Cancer Spore Grant CA-88184-01.

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