Malignant Salivary Cancers are cancers that form in tissues of salivary glands in the floor of the mouth and
throughout the oropharynx, the parotid glands and the submandibular glands. Cancer
of the salivary glands commonly presents with one of several different histologies:
mucoepidermoid, adenoid cystic, acinic cell, malignant mixed, squamous or adenocarcinoma.
There are two rare histologies which have much worse prognosis than the standard pathological
diagnoses: Anaplastic small cell and adenosquamous carcinoma of the salivary glands.
Anaplastic Small Cell Carcinoma of the Salivary Glands is a type of cancer which displays very aggressive metastatic behavior. Microscopically,
the cancer cells have oval, hyperchromatic nuclei and scant amount of cytoplasm and
are organized in sheets, strands, and nests. At time of diagnosis, distant metastatic
disease is almost always present.
Adenosquamous Carcinoma of the Salivary Glands is an extremely rare malignant neoplasm that simultaneously arises from surface mucosal
epithelium and salivary gland ductal epithelium. The carcinoma shows histopathologic
features of both squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma. In addition to swelling,
adenosquamous carcinoma produces visible changes in the mucosa including erythema,
ulceration, and induration. Pain frequently accompanies ulceration. This carcinoma
behaves aggressively with extensive infiltrating local disease as well as distant
Symptoms include: a lump (usually painless) in the area of the ear, cheek, jaw, lip,
or inside the mouth; fluid draining from the ear; trouble swallowing or opening the
mouth widely; numbness or weakness in the face and pain in the face that does not
Salivary Glands Cancer, Anaplastic Small Cell Carcinoma of the Salivary Glands, Adenosquamous
Carcinoma of the Salivary Glands, Anaplastic Small Cell Carcinoma, Adenosquamos Carcinoma
DIAGNOSTIC TESTING AND CODING
Small cell cancer of the salivary gland and adenosquamous cancer of the salivary gland
can be determined only by pathologic evaluation of tissue obtained by needle biopsy
Additional diagnostic tests may include: MRI, CT scan, PET scan, ultrasound, endoscopy
and fine needle aspiration biopsy. After salivary gland cancer has been diagnosed,
tests are done to find out if cancer cells have spread within the salivary gland or
to other parts of the body.
Treatment can consist of surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy in various combinations
depending on the clinical circumstances. Unfortunately, treatment for small cell carcinoma
or adenosquamous carcinoma of the salivary gland is rarely curative.