Research Article| Volume 135, ISSUE 3, P396-409, March 2023

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Immunohistochemical comparative analysis of tumor stem cell biomarkers in pleomorphic adenoma, adenoid cystic carcinoma and mucoepidermoid carcinoma of salivary glands

Published:September 29, 2022DOI:


      This study aimed to compare the immunoexpression profile of tumor stem cell (TSC) biomarkers CD44, aldehyde dehydrogenase 1 (ALDH1), OCT4, and SOX2 in salivary gland tumors (SGTs).

      Study Design

      Sixty tissue specimens of SGTs, including 20 pleomorphic adenomas, 20 adenoid cystic carcinomas (ACCs), and 20 mucoepidermoid carcinomas, in addition to 4 samples of normal glandular tissue, were subjected to immunohistochemistry. The expression of the biomarkers in the parenchyma and stroma was evaluated. Data were analyzed statistically by nonparametric tests (P < .05).


      Higher parenchymal expression of ALDH1, OCT4, and SOX2 was observed in pleomorphic adenomas, ACCs, and mucoepidermoid carcinomas, respectively. Most ACCs did not express ALDH1. Higher immunoexpression of ALDH1 in major SGTs (P = .021) and of OCT4 in minor SGTs (P = .011) was found. Immunoexpression of SOX2 was related to lesions without myoepithelial differentiation (P < .001) and malignant behavior (P = .002). Furthermore, OCT4 was related to myoepithelial differentiation (P = .009). CD44 expression was related to a better prognosis. Stromal immunoexpressions of CD44, ALDH1, and OCT4 were higher in malignant SGTs.


      Our findings suggest the participation of TSCs in the pathogenesis of SGTs. We emphasize the need for further investigations into the presence and role of TSCs in the stroma of these lesions.
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