Background: Adenoid cystic carcinoma is a locally aggressive salivary gland neoplasm, which has a poor long-term prognosis. A chromosomal translocation involving the genes encoding the transcription factors, MYB and NFIB, has been recently discovered in these tumors.
Methods: MYB translocation and protein expression were studied in 37 adenoid cystic carcinomas, 112 other salivary gland neoplasms, and 409 nonsalivary gland neoplasms by fluorescence in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry. MYB translocation and expression status in adenoid cystic carcinoma was correlated with clinicopathologic features including outcome, with a median follow-up of 77.1 months (range, 23.2 to 217.5 mo) for living patients.
Results: A balanced translocation between MYB and NFIB is present in 49% of adenoid cystic carcinomas but is not identified in other salivary gland tumors or nonsalivary gland neoplasms. There is no apparent translocation of MYB in 35% of the cases. Strong Myb immunostaining is very specific for adenoid cystic carcinomas but is only present in 65% of all cases. It is interesting to note that Myb immunostaining is confined to the basal cell component although the translocation is present in all the cells. Neoplasms with MYB translocation show a trend toward higher local relapse rates, but the results are not statistically significant with the current number of cases.
Conclusions: MYB translocation and expression are useful diagnostic markers for a subset of adenoid cystic carcinomas. The presence of the translocation may be indicative of local aggressive behavior, but a larger cohort may be required to show statistical significance.