Frequently Asked Questions
Should I donate my tumor?
Each additional tumor donated to research will increase the chances of finding a new therapy to benefit salivary gland tumor patients. Ask your surgeon about tumor donation prior to your scheduled surgery.
What does tumor donation involve?
You will be asked to complete the required consent forms prior to tumor donation. Tumor donation is an anonymous. Donating your tumor will not interfere with your treatment.
What is Mucoepidermoid Carcinoma (MEC)?
Mucoepidermoid Carcinoma is the most common salivary gland cancer, representing 25-35% of all malignancies at these locations. MEC behaves based on tumor grade where Grade I has a generally indolent course while Grades II and III may recur and/or metastasize. MEC is the most common salivary gland carcinoma in children and young adults.
What is Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma (ACC)?
Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma is the second most common salivary carcinoma. It comprises 15-23% of all salivary carcinoma. These tumors are characterized by protracted and relentless clinical behavior.
What is Adenocarcinoma (salivary duct carcinoma) (AC)?
Adenocarcinoma is a salivary carcinoma characterized by forming glands that mimic breast ductal carcinoma. AC comprises 5-10% of all salivary carcinoma. These tumors are typically high-grade with a high probability of recurrence and/or metastasis.
Who gets salivary gland cancer?
Salivary gland cancer can occur at any age. There is a slight trend towards women more commonly affected than men. The mucoepidermoid carcinoma is the most common salivary gland carcinoma in children and young adults.
What causes salivary gland cancer?
The cause of salivary gland cancer is unknown. MEC may be linked to radiation exposure.
How is salivary gland cancer diagnosed?
Typically these present as a lump of the parotid gland, submandibular gland, mouth or throat. ACC may also include facial paralysis or numbness. Salivary duct carcinoma (AC) patients more commonly have lymph node metastasis.
A diagnosis is made after a biopsy of the affected tissue(s).
What is/is there treatment for salivary gland cancer?
Currently, the standard practice is complete surgical excision. Depending on the histologic findings, some patients (most high grade tumors) may also undergo post-operative radiation therapy. However, almost 25% of patients develop recurrence and/or metastasis within 5 to 10 years.
What genetic alterations characterize salivary gland cancer?
MEC is characterized by a reciprocal translocation between chromosomes 11 and 19. This leads to the formation of a fusion gene called CTRC1-MAML2. The fusion gene is present in more than 2/3 of these tumors and believed to be involved in their development.
ACC is also characterized by a reciprocal translation between the long arm of chromosome 6 and the short arm of chromosome 9. This translocation generates a fusion gene called MYB-NFIB in approximately 30% of these tumors. Currently the fusion gene is associated with upregulation of the MYB gene.