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Arch Oral Biol. 2014 Jun;59(6):578-85. doi: 10.1016/j.archoralbio.2014.03.002. Epub 2014 Mar 18.

Pleomorphic adenoma of oral minor salivary glands: An investigation of its neoplastic potential based on apoptosis, mucosecretory activity and cellular proliferation.

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Department of Oral Medicine (Oral Pathology), Dental School, Federal University of Goiás, Goiânia, Brazil.
Department of Oral Medicine (Oral Pathology), Dental School, Federal University of Goiás, Goiânia, Brazil. Electronic address:



The aim of this study was to investigate the neoplastic potential of the PA of minor oral salivary glands measured by apoptosis (Bcl-2, Bax and p53), mucosecretory activity (MUC1), and cellular proliferation (Ki-67).


Thirty-one cases of PA of the oral cavity and four controls (C) taken from normal oral minor salivary glands were analyzed using the immunohistochemistry technique. The proteins were detected utilizing a semi-quantitative method (scores) as follows: (-) negative ≤5%, (+) low 6-25%, (++) moderate 26-50% and (+++) high >50% of positive tumour cells. The apoptotic indices were evaluated by the ratio Bcl-2/Bax. Non-parametric comparison and correlation tests were used for analysis.


The data showed high staining of anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2 in both groups (PA=57.9%; C=67.7%) and a significantly lower expression of pro-apoptotic protein Bax (PA=22.7%; C=97.7%) and MUC1 (PA=14%; C=82.3%) in PA than in C (p<0.001). On the other hand, a similar expression of Ki-67 and p53 proteins (≤5%) was seen in both PA and C. In PA, only 2/31 cases showed the ratio Bcl-2/Bax<1.There was no difference in cellular expression with regard to clinical variables or clinical outcome (p>0.05).


The neoplastic potential of PA could be associated with an imbalance in apoptotic processes and a lower index of cellular proliferation. Mucosecretory activity does not play a significant role in primary PA.


Apoptosis; Biological behaviour; Cell proliferation; Mucosecretory activity; Pleomorphic adenoma

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