A mechanistic basis for the malignant progression of salivary gland tumors

Sachiko Taniguchi, Yuya Tanaka, Ajit Elhance, Naoki Oshimori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Salivary gland tumors are diverse neoplasms, likely reflecting differences in the tissue- and cell-of-origin. 80%–90% of tumors arising in the sublingual gland (SLG) are malignant, whereas the other major glands often form benign tumors. Owing to the lack of experimental models to explore the etiology of salivary gland tumors, the cellular and molecular bases of malignancy remain unknown. Here, we generated a murine model of HRASG12V-driven salivary gland tumors amenable to examine tumor onset and malignant progression. We found that HMGA2 marks the tumor onset, and transformed-SOX2+ stem/progenitor cells expand exclusively in SLG tumors. Lineage tracing experiments showed that SLG tumor cells undergo an extensive epithelial–mesenchymal transition (EMT) and TGF-β-responding tumor cells are a source of mesenchymal tumor cells invading the surrounding stroma. This study advances our understanding of the mechanistic basis of salivary gland malignancy and may help combat this highly heterogeneous cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number103508
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 17 2021


  • Biological sciences
  • Cancer
  • Cell biology
  • Endocrinology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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