• CK7;
  • CK20;
  • immunohistochemistry;
  • salivary gland tumours

Aims:  To evaluate cytokeratin (CK) 7/20 expression patterns in salivary gland neoplasia.

Methods and results:  Formalin-fixed paraffin embedded tissue from 153 salivary gland tumours were evaluated for CK7/20 immunoreactivity. The tumours included pleomorphic adenoma (n = 24), myoepithelioma (n = 9), papillary cystadenoma (n = 3), oncocytoma (n = 2), adenoid cystic carcinoma (n = 22), mucoepidermoid carcinoma (n = 21), polymorphous low-grade adenocarcinoma (n = 21), carcinoma ex-pleomorphic adenoma (n = 11), acinic cell carcinoma (n = 17), epimyoepithelial carcinoma (n = 7), oncocytic carcinoma (n = 3), hyalinizing clear cell carcinoma (n = 1), papillary cystadenocarcinoma (n = 1), salivary duct carcinoma (n = 3), adenocarcinoma (not otherwise specified) (n = 4) and squamous carcinoma (n = 4). Immunohistochemical procedures were performed using monoclonal antibodies CK7 (OV-TL 12/30), CK20 (Ks 20.8) and M3515 cytokeratin (AE1/AE3) in the presence of appropriate controls. The results were expressed semiquantitatively, according to the estimated percentage of positive tumour cells: 1+, 5–25%; 2+, 26–75%; and 3+, 76–100%. All salivary gland neoplasms showed a CK7+/CK20– immunoprofile ranging from 5 to 100%. Squamous carcinoma showed negative CK7/20 immunoexpression.

Conclusions:  Although the CK7/20 immunoprofile is not useful in distinguishing the various types of salivary gland neoplasms or between benign and malignant salivary gland tumours, it may facilitate differentiation of primary salivary gland neoplasia from metastatic tumours and squamous carcinoma, and the diagnosis of metastatic salivary gland tumours.