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A 10-year review of primary major salivary gland cancers

12 Jun 2020
Andreia Cruz, Helena Magalhães, Filipa Ferreira Pereira, José Dinis, Cláudia Vieira

Primary salivary gland cancers comprise a heterogeneous group of histological entities and represent less than 5% of head and neck malignancies. Surgical resection is the main treatment, and adjuvant radiotherapy is performed in selected cases. Chemotherapy is an option in metastatic or recurrent disease, with poor evidence. We aimed to review a 10-year experience of a cancer centre on major salivary gland cancers, focusing on clinical, pathological, treatment and patients’ outcomes data.

A total of 93 patients were identified, median age at diagnosis was 64 years (IQR, 23), and 51.6% were male. The parotid gland was the site of origin in 76.3% of cases. The most frequent histological type was salivary duct carcinoma (21.5%). All patients were submitted to surgery and adjuvant radiotherapy was performed in 74.2%. From 26 patients diagnosed with metastatic disease, 9 were treated with systemic therapy. At 8 years, disease-free survival was 54.6% and overall survival was 48.4%. Male sex, salivary duct carcinoma, stage pT3-4, stage pN2-3, high histologic grade, lymphovascular invasion and perineural invasion were negative prognostic indicators for disease-free survival and overall survival. Extracapsular spread was a negative prognostic indicator for overall survival. In the multivariable analysis, histological type—salivary duct carcinoma—kept significant negative impact in disease-free survival and high histologic grade in overall survival.

The most frequent histological type was salivary duct carcinoma, which is estimated to represent only 9% of salivary tumours. Patients with salivary duct carcinoma relapsed more than other histological types. High histologic grade was a negative prognostic indicator for overall survival.

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