ENGLISH      FRANÇAIS



Home / Online screening material / A digital manual for the early diagnosis of oral neoplasia / Tumours of minor salivary glands

  Tumours of minor salivary glands  Search in Medline for Tumours of minor salivary glands   Go back to the list

Minor salivary glands are most numerous at the junction of hard and soft palate, buccal mucosa and lips. These glands in the palate, retromolar area and ventral tongue are predominantly mucous, and those in the lateral aspects of tongue, lips and buccal mucosa are seromucous.

Malignant tumours of minor salivary glands are rare and are seen in all age groups. A slight female predilection has been reported Waldron CA, el-Mofty SK, Gnepp DR (1988). Tumors of the intraoral minor salivary glands: a demographic and histologic study of 426 cases. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol 66: 323-333.. About 40% of the tumours arising from minor salivary glands are malignant Waldron CA, el-Mofty SK, Gnepp DR (1988). Tumors of the intraoral minor salivary glands: a demographic and histologic study of 426 cases. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol 66: 323-333.Buchner A, Merrell PW, Carpenter WM (2007). Relative frequency of intra-oral minor salivary gland tumors: a study of 380 cases from northern California and comparison to reports from other parts of the world. J Oral Pathol Med 36: 207-214.. The palate is most commonly affected, followed by the upper lip. Mucoepidermoid carcinoma is the most common histological subtype Waldron CA, el-Mofty SK, Gnepp DR (1988). Tumors of the intraoral minor salivary glands: a demographic and histologic study of 426 cases. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol 66: 323-333.Buchner A, Merrell PW, Carpenter WM (2007). Relative frequency of intra-oral minor salivary gland tumors: a study of 380 cases from northern California and comparison to reports from other parts of the world. J Oral Pathol Med 36: 207-214.. The risk factors responsible for the development of these cancers are not well understood. Clinically, they appear as painless, progressive submucosal swelling. The diagnosis is confirmed by incision biopsy. Fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) gives varying results. Wide excision is the treatment of choice. Post-operative radiotherapy is indicated in high-grade tumours, especially in adenoid cystic carcinoma, and those with positive resected margins, involvement of nodes and perineural invasion. In selected cases where surgery is not feasible, radical radiotherapy has been tried. The 5-year survival is around 66%, and stage at diagnosis is the most important predictor of survival Vander P, V, Balm AJ, Hilgers FJ, Tan IB, Keus RB, Hart AA (2000). Stage as major long term outcome predictor in minor salivary gland carcinoma. Cancer 89: 1195-1204..


ImageLegend
Figure 1: Carcinoma of the minor salivary gland. Note the swelling on the right side of the floor of mouth which, on histopathological examination, proved to be mucoepidermoid carcinoma.
Figure 2: Adenoid cystic carcinoma in a 30–year-old man. Note the diffuse swelling on the left side of the hard palate with intact mucosa.
IARC, 150 Cours Albert Thomas, 69372 Lyon CEDEX 08, France - Tel: +33 (0)4 72 73 84 85 - Fax: +33 (0)4 72 73 85 75
© IARC 2017 - All Rights Reserved.