Egfr

Several studies have shown high expression of EGFR/HER-2/neu family members in mucoepidermoid and adenoid cystic carcinoma. The data suggest a biological role for members of this pathway in these tumours and their potential use as a target for therapy {887}.

C-erbB-2/HER-2/neu

This is an oncogene that encodes for a transmembrane glycoprotein receptor involved in cell growth and differentiation. The gene is a member of the EGFR signal transduction family and has been shown to be overexpressed in aggressive breast cancer. Studies in salivary gland adenocarcinoma, including sali vary duct and mucoepidermoid carcinoma, point to a general consensus on the association of HER-2 overexpression and adverse clinicopathologic features {725, 884,1058,2086,2198,2465}.

C-Kit

This is a proto-oncogene that encodes a transmembrane receptor type tyrosine kinase that belongs to the colony-stimulating factor-1 (CSF-1) and platelet-derived growth factors (PDGF;4-6). Upon binding to its ligand, a signalling cascade is initiated to stimulate growth and differentiation of haematopoietic cells {835}. Studies of C-kit in salivary gland tumours have largely focused on adenoid cystic carcinoma and findings vary considerably. C-kit expression appears to be restricted to adenoid cystic carcinoma {1215,2006} and myoepithelial carcinomas {1215} but absent in polymorphous low-grade adenocarcinoma {2006} and other types of salivary gland tumours {1215}.

None of the highly expressed tumours manifested genetic mutations at exons 11 & 17. The results confirm a previous study and underscore that a mechanism for gene activation and other genetic alterations may play a role {1117}. A more recent study of this gene indicates high expression in other types of salivary gland neoplasms as well (adenoid cystic carcinoma, polymorphous low-grade adenocarcinoma and monomorphic types of adenoma) {636}.

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