Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science




Darling, Mark R.

2nd Supervisor

Khan, Zia A.

Joint Supervisor


Objectives: Pleomorphic adenoma (PA) is the most common benign salivary gland tumor. Kallikrein-related peptidases (KLKs) have been identified as biomarkers in many human tumors and may influence tumor behavior. We investigated KLK1-15 messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) and proteins in PA specimens to determine a KLK expression profile for this tumor.

Methods: Fresh frozen PA tissue specimens (n = 26) and matched controls were subjected to RT-qPCR to detect KLK1-15 mRNA. Expression of KLK1, KLK12, KLK13 and KLK8 proteins were then evaluated via immunostaining techniques. Statistical analyses were performed with the level of significance set at P < .05.

Results: We observed downregulation of mRNA expression levels for KLK1, KLK12 and KLK13, and immunostaining studies revealed downregulation of the corresponding proteins. Histologic evidence of capsular perforation was associated with increased KLK1 protein expression. Tumor size was not associated with capsular invasion and/or perforation.

Conclusions: This study is the first to detail a KLK expression profile for PA at both the transcriptional level and the protein level. Future work is required to develop clinical applications of these findings.