Acinic cell carcinoma of minor salivary glands: a clinical and immunohistochemical study

J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2010 Oct;68(10):2489-96. doi: 10.1016/j.joms.2009.09.065. Epub 2010 Aug 1.


Purpose: Acinic cell carcinoma is a rare malignant tumor of salivary glands. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the clinical outcome of acinic cell carcinoma in a group of 11 patients, who were treated in our clinic, and to discuss the management as well as the immunohistochemical features and prognosis of this carcinoma.

Materials and methods: The study included 11 patients with acinic cell carcinoma of the minor salivary glands who were treated in our clinic. The patients were 7 women and 4 men. The patients' age ranged from 46 to 83 years. The distribution of the primary sites was buccal mucosa (4) maxilla/maxillary sinus, etc, (2), hard palate (1), junction of soft/hard palate (1), lower lip (1), labio marginal sulcus (1), and vestibular sulcus and mandible (1). All patients were treated with surgery. Adjuvant radiotherapy was used in 3 patients. Immunohistochemical assay of expression of Ki-67, p53, EGFR, and c-erbB-2/neu markers was performed on specimens of all tumors.

Results: The mean follow-up range was 2 to 15 years. Of the 11 patients, 7 were alive (2, 3, 4, 5, and 15 years after the initial therapy). Two patients died of another cause free of the disease 9 and 10 years after the initial treatment, and 2 patients died of the disease (local recurrence, distant metastases 2 and 3 years later). Overexpression of immunohistochemical markers was evident for tumors with widespread metastases.

Conclusions: Acinic cell carcinoma is a rare malignant tumor of the salivary glands, characterized by an indolent clinical course with the potential for both local recurrence and distant metastases. The immunohistochemical analysis of proliferation markers provides additional prognostic information for this tumor.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis*
  • Carcinoma, Acinar Cell / chemistry
  • Carcinoma, Acinar Cell / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Acinar Cell / surgery
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • ErbB Receptors / analysis
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Ki-67 Antigen / analysis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prognosis
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / analysis
  • Salivary Gland Neoplasms / chemistry
  • Salivary Gland Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Salivary Gland Neoplasms / surgery
  • Salivary Glands, Minor / chemistry
  • Salivary Glands, Minor / pathology*
  • Salivary Glands, Minor / surgery
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / analysis


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Ki-67 Antigen
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • ErbB Receptors
  • Receptor, ErbB-2