Mucoepidermoid carcinoma (MEC) is rare, but the most common primary malignancy of the salivary gland and not infrequent in young individuals. CRTC1/3-MAML2 fusions are frequently detected in MEC and are useful as a diagnostic biomarker. However, there has been debate as to whether the fusions have prognostic significance. In this study, we retrospectively collected 153 salivary gland MEC cases from 11 tertiary hospitals in Japan. As inclusion criteria, the MEC patients in this study had curative surgery as the initial treatment, received no preoperative treatment, and had no distant metastasis at the time of the initial surgery. The MEC diagnosis was validated by a central pathology review by five expert salivary gland pathologists. The CRTC1/3-MAML2 fusions were detected using FISH and RT-PCR. In 153 MEC cases, 90 (58.8%) were positive for CRTC1/3-MAML2 fusions. During the follow-up period, 28 (18.3%) patients showed tumor recurrence and 12 (7.8%) patients died. The presence of the fusions was associated with favorable tumor features. Of note, none of the fusion-positive patients died during the follow-up period. Statistical analysis showed that the presence of the fusions was a prognostic indicator of a better overall survival in the total and advanced-stage MEC cohorts, but not in the early-stage MEC cohort. In conclusion, CRTC1/3-MAML2 fusions are an excellent biomarker for favorable overall survival of patients with salivary gland MEC.
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