Clinicopathological profile of adenoid cystic carcinoma of minor salivary gland tumour: our experience at a tertiary care centre

Prakash Mylanahalli Doddrangaiah, Bharath Kanna Karunakaran, Roopa S. Mallali, Afshan Fathima


Background: Adenoid cystic carcinoma (ACC) is a rare malignant tumour originating from minor salivary glands. It is known for perineural spread, local recurrences and distant metastasis. The minor salivary gland tumour represents 3% of all head and neck neoplasms, whereas ACC constitutes about 0.5% of all malignant salivary gland neoplasms. This study was done to evaluate the clinical presentation and histopathological findings of minor salivary gland tumour.

Methods: This study was done in the department of ENT, Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute from May 2017 to July 2019. Of the 25 patients with minor salivary gland tumour, 10 patients with ACC were considered for the present study. A detailed clinical and histopathological evaluation was done. Results were documented and tabulated in excel sheet.  

Results: We analysed data of 25 (16 female, 9 male) patients in the age group of 30-60 years, of which 10 patients had adenoid cystic carcinoma of minor salivary gland tumour. The most frequent site of tumour occurrence was noted in the hard palate (6 patients), followed by retromolar trigone (2 patients), floor of mouth (1 patient) and tongue (1 patient). The histopathological pattern noted most commonly in our study: cribriform pattern (6 cases), tubular (1 case) and solid (3 cases).

Conclusions: ACC of minor salivary glands is rare. The otorhinolaryngologist should bear this clinical entity in mind when encountered with a painless swelling over the hard palate. This would lead to an early diagnosis and prompt management in such patients.


Adenoid cystic carcinoma, Minor salivary glands, Hard palate

Full Text:



Speight PM, Barrett AW. Salivary gland tumors. Oral Diseases. 2002;8:229-40.

Rodriguez MN, Berrocal LI, Alonso RL, Irimia AO, Gonzalez MJ. Epidemiology and treatment of adenoid cystic carcinoma of the minor salivary glands: a meta-analytic study. Medicina Oral Pathología Oraly Cirugia Bucal. 2011:884-9.

Leegaard T, Lindeman H. Salivary-gland tumors. Clinical picture and treatment. Acta Otolaryngol Suppl. 1969;263:155-9.

Bradley PJ. Adenoid cystic carcinoma of the head and neck: a review. Curr Opin Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2004;12:127-32.

Bianchi B, Copelli C, Cocchi R. Adenoid cystic carcinoma of intraoral minor salivary glands. Oral Oncology. 2008;44:1026-31.

Barnes L, Eveson JW, Reichart P, Sidransky D, editors, editors. Pathology and genetics of head and neck tumors. Lyon: IARC Press; 2005:209-228.

MacIntosh R. Minor salivary gland tumors: Types, incidence and management. Oral Maxillofac Surg Clin North Amer. 1995;7:573-89.

Triantafillidou K, Dimitrakopoulos J, Iordanidis F, Koufogiannis D. Management of Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma of Minor Salivary Glands. J Oral Maxillofacial Surg. 2006;64(7):1114-20.

Kruse AL, Gratz KW, Obwegeser JA, Lubbers HT. Malignant minor salivary gland tumors: a retrospective study of 27 cases. Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2010;14(4):203-9.

Kokemueller H, Eckardt A, Brachvogel P. Adenoid cystic carcinoma of the head and neck: a 20 years’ experience. Int J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2004;33:25-31.

Avery CM, Moody AB, Kinna MFE. Combined treatment of adenoid cystic carcinoma of the salivary glands. Int J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2000;29:277-79.

Darling MR, Schneider JW, Phillips VM. Polymorphous low-grade adenocarcinoma and adenoid cystic carcinoma: a review and comparison of immunohistochemical markers. Oral Oncology. 2002;38(7):641-5.

Dalgic A, Karakoc O, Aydin U, Hidir Y, Gamsizkan M, Karahatay S, et al. Minor Salivary Gland Neoplasms. J Craniofacial Surg. 2014;25(3):289-91.

Bianchi B, Copelli C, Cocchi R, Ferrari S, Pederneschi N, Sesenna E. Adenoid cystic carcinoma of intraoral minor salivary glands. Oral Oncol. 2008;44:1026-31.