Histomolecular interpretation of pleomorphic adenomas of the salivary gland by matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization imaging and spatial segmentation

Head Neck. 2015 Jul;37(7):1014-21. doi: 10.1002/hed.23713. Epub 2014 Jul 11.


Background: Despite efforts in localization of key proteins using immunohistochemistry, the complex proteomic composition of pleomorphic adenomas has not yet been characterized. Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization imaging mass spectrometry (MALDI imaging) allows label-free and spatially resolved detection of hundreds of proteins directly from tissue sections and of histomorphological regions by finding colocalized molecular signals. Spatial segmentation of MALDI imaging data is an algorithmic method for finding regions of similar proteomic composition as functionally similar regions.

Methods: We investigated 2 pleomorphic adenomas by applying spatial segmentation to the MALDI imaging data of tissue sections.

Results: The spatial segmentation subdivided the tissue in a good accordance with the tissue histology. Numerous molecular signals colocalized with histologically defined tissue regions were found.

Conclusion: Our study highlights the cellular transdifferentiation within the pleomorphic adenoma. It could be shown that spatial segmentation of MALDI imaging data is a promising approach in the emerging field of digital histological analysis and characterization of tumors.

Keywords: digital histology; matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization (MALDI) imaging mass spectrometry; pleomorphic adenoma; salivary gland.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma, Pleomorphic / pathology*
  • Cell Transdifferentiation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Proteomics
  • Salivary Gland Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Salivary Glands / pathology*
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization / methods*