Salivary gland polymorphous adenocarcinoma: Clinicopathological features and gene alterations in 36 Japanese patients

J Oral Pathol Med. 2022 Sep;51(8):710-720. doi: 10.1111/jop.13336. Epub 2022 Aug 15.


Background: Polymorphous adenocarcinoma is a common intraoral minor salivary gland carcinoma in Western countries but is extremely rare in Japan. The current study aimed to characterize the clinicopathological features and status of molecular alterations of polymorphous adenocarcinoma-associated genes, such as PRKD1/2/3, ARID1A, and DDX3X, in a large cohort of Japanese patients with polymorphous adenocarcinoma.

Methods: We examined the cases of 36 Japanese patients with salivary gland polymorphous adenocarcinoma and 26 cases involving histopathological mimics. To detect gene splits, fluorescence in situ hybridization was carried out for polymorphous adenocarcinoma-associated genes. Additionally, we applied a SNaPshot multiplex assay to identify PRKD1 hotspot mutations.

Results: This study revealed the indolent clinical course of polymorphous adenocarcinoma with a high 10-year overall survival rate (92.9%), accompanied by occasional local recurrences and cervical lymph node metastasis (23.3%). Twenty cases (55.6%) of polymorphous adenocarcinoma (but none of the mimics) exhibited alterations in at least one polymorphous adenocarcinoma-associated gene. Rearrangement of polymorphous adenocarcinoma-associated genes and PRKD1 E710D were identified in 17 (47.2%) and 4 (11.1%) cases, respectively; one case showed coexisting PRKD3 split and PRKD1 E710D. In the multivariate analysis, high clinical stage (p = 0.0005), the presence of prominent nucleoli (p = 0.0003), and ARID1A split positivity (p = 0.004) were independent risk factors for disease-free survival.

Conclusion: Japanese patients with polymorphous adenocarcinoma showed clinicopathological features similar to those reported in Western countries. This study disclosed that polymorphous adenocarcinoma-associated genetic alterations were common and specific findings in polymorphous adenocarcinomas. The diagnostic role and possible prognostic significance of polymorphous adenocarcinoma-associated genetic alterations in polymorphous adenocarcinomas were suggested.

Keywords: cribriform adenocarcinoma of salivary gland; gene fusion; polymorphous adenocarcinoma; prognosis; salivary gland neoplasms.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma* / pathology
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Japan
  • Salivary Gland Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Salivary Gland Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Salivary Glands / pathology


  • Biomarkers, Tumor