Coexpression of p53 and c-erbB-2 proteins is associated with histological type, tumour stage, and cell proliferation in malignant salivary gland tumours

Virchows Arch. 1996 May;428(2):75-83. doi: 10.1007/BF00193934.


The development and progression of cancer are known to be regulated by various oncogenes and tumour suppressor genes. We analysed 63 primary malignant salivary gland tumours for the expression of p53 and c-erbB-2 proteins. Immunohistochemically, 7 of 63 tumours (11%) showed diffuse nuclear staining for p53 protein, and all 7 were also positive for c-erbB-2 protein. The overexpression of p53 protein correlated closely with the overexpression of c-erbB-2 protein (P<0.001). Overexpression of both p53 and c-erbB-2 proteins (coexpression) was found in tumours of certain histological types, such as adenocarcinoma, carcinoma in pleomorphic adenoma, and salivary duct carcinoma. Furthermore, it is noteworthy that coexpression was associated with high-grade carcinoma, advanced tumour stage, and a high Ki-67 labelling index (%) which is a marker of cell proliferation. In adenocarcinoma, we attempted to clarify the relationship between coexpression and histological grade. Coexpression was associated with histological grades showing high mitotic indices and necrotic areas, which reflected high cell-proliferative activity. These results suggest that the accumulation of genetic alterations, such as those involving p53 and c-erbB-2, plays an important part in the progression of malignant salivary gland tumours.

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / immunology
  • Adenocarcinoma / metabolism*
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / analysis
  • Carcinoma / immunology
  • Carcinoma / metabolism*
  • Carcinoma / pathology
  • Cell Division
  • ErbB Receptors / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ki-67 Antigen / analysis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Proteins / metabolism*
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prognosis
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / metabolism*
  • Receptor, ErbB-3
  • Salivary Gland Neoplasms / immunology
  • Salivary Gland Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Salivary Gland Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / metabolism*


  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Ki-67 Antigen
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • ErbB Receptors
  • Receptor, ErbB-3