Purpose: Adenoid cystic carcinoma (ACC) is a high-grade malignant tumor of the salivary glands, clinically characterized by multiple recurrences and late distant metastasis. Biological markers for assessing the prognosis of ACC have remained elusive. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether the protein expressions of ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM), p53, and ATM-mediated phosphorylated p53 are related to patient survival in ACC. Materials and Methods: In this study, 48 surgical samples were used to assess the expressions of ATM and its downstream target p53. Fisher’s exact test and Kaplan-Meier analysis were conducted to evaluate the role of ATM, p53, and phospho-p53 (S15) protein expressions in predicting patient survival and distant metastasis. Results: Myb expression was positive in 85.4% of ACCs, but did not reflect patient survival rate. In contrast, low expression of ATM in cancer cells was significantly correlated with poor survival rate (p=0.037). Moreover, under positive p53 expression, low expression of ATM was highly predictive of poor survival in ACC (p=0.017). Conclusion: These data indicate that combined assessment of ATM and p53 expression can serve as a useful prognostic marker for assessing survival rate in patients with ACC of the salivary glands.
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