Significance of Ki-67 and p53 immunoexpression in the differential diagnosis of oral necrotizing sialometaplasia and squamous cell carcinoma

Tahereh Dadfarnia, Bassim S. Mohammed, Mahmoud A. Eltorky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Necrotizing sialometaplasia (NS) is a benign condition that usually involves the hard palate and can be mistaken for invasive squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). In this study, we have demonstrated that p53 and Ki-67 staining may assist in the differential diagnosis of NS from SCC. Thirteen cases of NS and 20 cases of oral cavity SCC were randomly selected from our surgical pathology archive from 1992 to 2009. Each case was additionally stained with Ki-67, p53, BCL-2, p16, and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) antibodies. All 13 cases of NS were negatively stained for BCL-2, EGFR, and Ki-67. Three cases (23%) showed weak and focal positive nuclear staining for p53. Two cases (15%) showed positive staining for p16. In 16 well-differentiated SCC cases, p53 was positive in 12 cases (75%); BCL-2, p16, EGFR were positive in 3 cases (18%); and Ki-67 was positive in all cases (100%). In 4 moderately differentiated SCC cases, p53 expression was positive in all cases. Two tumors (50%) had a positive expression of BCL-2. Three cases (75%) had a positive p16 staining, and 1 (25%) had a positive EGFR staining. All cases were positive with high nuclear staining greater than 35% of cells for Ki-67. Ki-67 and p53 showed more intense staining and increased in moderately differentiated SCC comparing with well-differentiated SCC and NS. BCL-2, EGFR, and p16 had the same pattern of staining with the same extent in NS and SCCs. The diagnosis of NS may be difficult and may be supplemented via immunohistochemistry by demonstrating focal or absent p53, low to absent Ki-67 (<10% of cells). Although Ki-67 and p53 staining are generally more intense and are increased in malignancy, these findings may be helpful adjuncts in the differential diagnosis of NS from SCC in appropriate clinical setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-176
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Diagnostic Pathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Ki-67
  • Necrotizing sialometaplasia
  • Squamous cell carcinoma
  • p53

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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