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J Oral Maxillofac Pathol. 2015 Sep-Dec;19(3):319-24. doi: 10.4103/0973-029X.174618.

Cytomegalovirus and Mucoepidermoid carcinoma: A possible causal relationship? A pilot study.

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Department of Oral Pathology, Saveetha Dental College and Hospitals, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.



Human cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection has tropism for salivary gland ductal epithelium and establishes a persistent and lifelong infection. Mucoepidermoid carcinoma (MEC) is the most common salivary gland tumor. Recent studies have established that mouse CMV-induced tumorigenesis displays histologic and molecular characteristics similar to human MEC. We wished to explore further down the lane by analyzing the expression of pp65 and the key oncogenic signaling pathway in cases of MEC and their etiological relevance in the Indian scenario as a pilot study.


Histopathologically confirmed cases of MEC (n = 4) and normal salivary gland tissue (n = 4) were subjected to immunohistochemical analysis using the markers pp65 and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR).


The pp65 antigen expression was found to be negative in all the studied cases and one case of high-grade MEC showed EGFR expression.


The purpose of the study was to explore the role of CMV in the development of MEC, as it might help to exploit this etiological agent as a therapeutic target. Similar to human papillomavirus (HPV), these might identify a subset of neoplasms with a varied biological behavior and alternative therapies. However, this vision is obscured by contradicting evidence in the literature. As of today, surgery remains the only best possible management for these patients unless proven otherwise.


Cytomegalovirus; Mucoepidermoid carcinoma; epidermal growth factor receptor; pp65

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