Embryonic stem cells markers Oct4 and Nanog correlate with perineural invasion in human salivary gland mucoepidermoid carcinoma
Background Mucoepidermoid carcinoma (MEC) is the most common salivary gland malignancy and is successfully treated by surgery and radiation. However, some patients have recurrent tumours and in these cases, few treatments options are available. Cancer stem cells (CSC) have been observed and isolated from different solid tumours based on the expression of stem cell markers. These cells are associated with tumour initiation, progression as well as treatment resistance. In this study, the expression of stem cell markers CD44, Bmi1, Oct4 and Nanog was evaluated in non‐neoplastic salivary tissue and in MEC. Methods Twenty‐eight samples of MEC and their corresponding non‐neoplastic salivary tissue were examined by immunohistochemistry and the stem cell markers expression was correlated with histological and clinical parameters. Results CD44 was expressed in the membrane of serous and mucous acini as well as in the ductal cells in normal gland tissue. Bmi1, Oct4 and Nanog were mainly expressed in ductal structures. In MEC, CD44 and Bmi1 showed strong expression in all types of neoplastic cells and both markers revealed intense expression in tumour invasive front. Oct4 and Nanog protein expression was associated with desmoplasia and perineural invasion. Only Oct4 positive tumours were associated with dissociative growth pattern and committed margins. Conclusion The stem cell markers CD44, Bmi1, Oct4 and Nanog are frequently expressed in MEC in relation to normal salivary gland and Oct4 and Nanog expression may contribute to aggressiveness and worst prognosis in MEC patients.
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