Histologic localization of PLAG1 (pleomorphic adenoma gene 1) in pleomorphic adenoma of the salivary gland: cytogenetic evidence of common origin of phenotypically diverse cells

Lab Invest. 2001 Sep;81(9):1289-97. doi: 10.1038/labinvest.3780342.


Pleomorphic adenoma gene 1 (PLAG1), a zinc finger transcription factor gene, is consistently rearranged and overexpressed in human pleomorphic adenomas of the salivary glands with 8q12 translocations. In this report, we describe the immunohistochemical localization of PLAG1 protein in pleomorphic adenomas of the salivary gland and corresponding normal tissue, in relation to cytokeratin, vimentin, and BCL-2 expression. Normal salivary gland tissue was not immunoreactive for PLAG1. In primary pleomorphic adenomas, cells strongly immunoreactive for PLAG1 were detected in the outer layer of tubulo-ductal structures, which are thought to be the origin of cells with bi-directional, epithelial, and mesenchymal phenotypes. In contrast, epithelial cells with abundant cytokeratin in the inner tubulo-ductal structures only sporadically expressed PLAG1. BCL-2 immunoreactivity was found mainly in the cells surrounding the tubulo-ductal structures and in the solid undifferentiated cellular masses, within the areas that had moderate PLAG1 immunoreactivity. The variability of PLAG1 expression in neoplastic cells seemed to reflect the morphologic heterogeneity that correlated with the stage of differentiation of the tumor cells. Immunohistochemical/cytogenetic evaluation of two pleomorphic adenomas with t(3;8)(p21;q12) or t(5;8)(p13;q12) translocations demonstrated the clonal nature of immunophenotypically diverse cells. This finding confirms the theory that pleomorphic adenoma cells share a common single-cell origin, most likely from the epithelial progenitor basal duct cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma, Pleomorphic / metabolism*
  • Adenoma, Pleomorphic / pathology
  • Cell Line
  • Cytogenetic Analysis
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Phenotype
  • Salivary Gland Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Salivary Gland Neoplasms / pathology
  • Tissue Distribution


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • PLAG1 protein, human