Mucoepidermoid carcinoma of the parotid gland: factors affecting outcome

Head Neck. 2011 Apr;33(4):497-503. doi: 10.1002/hed.21477.


Background: The purpose of this study was to identify the prognostic factors affecting the outcome in patients with mucoepidermoid carcinoma (MEC) of the parotid gland.

Methods: A total of 113 patients with MEC who were treated between 1993 and 2002 were analyzed.

Results: At median follow-up of 49 months (range, 1-143 months), disease-free survival (DFS) at 5 and 10 years was 84.6 and 84.6%, 80.7% and 67.3%, and 52.5% and 35.0% for low-grade, intermediate-grade, and high-grade tumors, respectively. Five-year and 10-year overall survival was 96.8% for low-grade tumors; 94.1% and 82.4%, respectively, for intermediate-grade tumors; and 73.3% for high-grade tumors. High-grade tumors and lymph node cancer-positive neck tumors strongly predicted poor locoregional control and DFS, while close or positive cut margins showed a trend toward poorer outcomes.

Conclusion: Histologic grade is the most important factor affecting outcome in parotid MEC. Adjuvant radiotherapy is recommended for high-grade tumors and should be tailored according to the expected risk of recurrence for low-grade and intermediate-grade tumors.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Carcinoma, Mucoepidermoid / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Mucoepidermoid / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Mucoepidermoid / therapy
  • Child
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymph Node Excision
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Parotid Neoplasms / mortality
  • Parotid Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Parotid Neoplasms / therapy
  • Prognosis
  • Survival Rate
  • Young Adult