Salivary gland tumors are relatively rare and morphologically diverse and heterogeneous tumors; therefore, histogenesis-based tumor markers are sorely needed to aid in diagnosing and determining the cell type of origin. SRY-related HMG-box 10 (SOX10) protein is a transcription factor known to be crucial in the specification of the neural crest and maintenance of Schwann cells and melanocytes. In addition, positive expression has also been implicated in the major salivary gland. Here, we examined SOX10 expression in various salivary gland tumors to correlate this expression with myoepithelial markers. Overall, 76 malignant and 14 benign tumors were examined. SOX10 expression clearly delineated two distinct subtypes of human salivary gland tumors; acinic cell carcinomas, adenoid cystic carcinomas, epithelial-myoepithelial carcinomas, myoepithelial carcinomas, and pleomorphic adenomas, including the pleomorphic adenoma component of carcinoma, were SOX10 positive, while salivary duct carcinomas, mucoepidermoid carcinomas, an oncocytic carcinoma, Oncocytomas, and Warthin tumors were SOX10 negative. Also, SOX10 was expressed in solid-type or non-specific morphology salivary gland tumors, but was not expressed in poorly differentiated squamous cell carcinomas. In normal human salivary gland tissue, SOX10 expression was specific to the nuclei of acini and both luminal and abluminal cells of intercalated ducts but not in other sites. Moreover, the murine model suggested that SOX10 continued to be expressed from the developmental stage to adulthood in the acinar and both luminal and abluminal intercalated ducts in the major salivary gland. Thus, SOX10 is a novel marker for diagnosing and understanding the histogenesis of salivary gland tumors.
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