TRK-A, HER-2/neu, and KIT expression/activation profiles in salivary gland carcinoma

Tiziana Negri, Elena Tamborini, Gian Paolo Dagrada, Angela Greco, Samantha Staurengo, Marco Guzzo, Laura D. Locati, Antonino Carbone, Marco A. Pierotti, Lisa Licitra, Silvana Pilotti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Salivary duct carcinomas (SDCs) and adenoid cystic carcinomas (ACCs) are the most aggressive and the most frequent carcinomas of the salivary glands, respectively. Little is known about them in terms of molecular/ biochemical characterization and conventional treatments are ineffective. On cryopreserved material, we analyzed the expression/activation status of TRK-A, HER-2/neu, and KIT receptors by means of immunoprecipitation and Western blot analysis experiments, and the presence of their cognate ligands by means of Western blot analysis and/or reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction in 9 SDCs, 12 ACCs, and 8 normal glands. The amplification status of HER-2/neu was also investigated by means of fluorescent in situ hybridization analysis on fixed material. The receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK)-deregulated profile of the SDCs was characterized by the overexpression of activated TRK-A in the presence of its ligand, and the overexpression of HER-2/neu sustained by gene amplification. The RTK signature of the ACCs was represented by the overexpression of activated KIT and TRK-A and their cognate ligands, and the overexpression of activated HER-2/neu, in the absence of gene amplification, possibly sustained by epidermal growth factor receptor heterodimerization. In conclusion, SDCs and ACCs, although sharing TRK-A autocrine loop activation, have different pathologically activated RTK-deregulated profiles that may be potential targets for pharmacological RTK inhibitors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-128
Number of pages8
JournalTranslational Oncology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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