In mucoepidermoid carcinoma (MEC), the most common salivary gland carcinoma, there is a lack of novel prognostic markers, but post-operative early recurrence strongly affects the clinical course and a poor outcome. It is critical to predict which MEC patients are prone to develop recurrence/metastases. Mucins play pivotal roles in influencing cancer biology, thus affecting cell differentiation, adhesion, carcinoma invasion, aggressiveness and/or metastatic potential. Our aim is to elucidate the significance of expression profiles for mucins, particularly MUC4 and MUC6, and their correlations with various clinicopathological features and recurrence in salivary gland MECs. We performed immunohistochemical analyses on patients with surgically resected primary MEC using antibodies against mucin core proteins MUC4/8G7 and MUC6/CLH5 in 73 paraffin-embedded samples. Recurrence was noted in 15 of 73 (20.5%) patients. MUC4 or MUC6 expression was considered to be negative when <30% or 0% of the MEC cells showed positive staining, respectively. MUC4- and/or MUC6- negative expression respectively and variably showed a significant relationship to pathological tumor high-grade, the presence of lymphovascular invasion, lymph node metastasis and/or tumor-related death. In addition, MUC4 showed significantly negative co-expression with MUC6. Kaplan-Meier analyses revealed that not only single MUC4/6-negative expression but also the combination of both predicted significantly shorter disease-free and disease-specific survivals in MECs, especially within the first two years postoperatively. Therefore, each mucin plays a pivotal role in the pathogenesis of MEC progression. The detection of MUC4 and/or MUC6 might be a powerful parameter in the clinical management of MECs in the early postsurgical phase.
- Disease-free survival (DFS)
- Disease-specific survival (DSS)
- Mucoepidermoid carcinoma (MEC)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine