The goal of the molecular biological studies of salivary gland tumours is to define objective markers that may supplant the subjective phenotypic evaluation in the diagnosis, biological assessment and therapeutic stratification of patients with these tumours. The following molecular genetic events tentatively characterize some of these tumours:

(1) Chromosomes 3p21, 8q12 and 12q 13-15 rearrangements and the PLAG-1 and HMGI-C genes in pleomor-phic adenomas

(2) Translocations of chromosomes 11q21 and 19p13 in both Warthin tumour and mucoepidermoid carcinoma.

(3) Structural and molecular alterations at 6q, 8q, 12q in adenoid cystic and carcinoma ex-pleomorphic adenoma.

(4) Elevated HER-2 gene expression and gene amplification in mucoepidermoid, salivary duct and adenocarcinomas.

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