Factors predicting outcome in malignant minor salivary gland tumors of the oropharynx

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2010 Dec;136(12):1240-7. doi: 10.1001/archoto.2010.213.


Objectives: to report our experience in the care of patients with minor salivary gland cancers occurring only in the oropharynx and to determine factors predictive of outcome.

Design: Retrospective analysis.

Setting: memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

Patients: sixty-seven patients with malignant minor salivary gland tumors were identified from a preexisting database of patients with cancers of the oropharynx between January 1985 and December 2005.

Main outcome measures: overall survival, disease-specific survival, and recurrence-free survival were calculated by the Kaplan-Meier method. Factors predictive of outcome were identified by univariate and multivariate analyses.

Results: the most common histologic types were mucoepidermoid carcinoma in 26 patients (39%), adenoid cystic carcinoma in 16 (24%), adenocarcinoma in 16 (24%), and malignant mixed tumor in 7 (10%). The tumors were located in the base of the tongue in 41 patients (61%), soft palate in 20 (30%), and tonsil in 6 (9%). With a median follow-up time of 86 months (range, 12-249 months), overall outcomes at 5 and 10 years were overall survival, 80% and 53%; disease-specific survival, 87% and 67%; and recurrence-free survival, 69% and 60%, respectively. Tumor recurred in 20 patients (34%); 12 of these patients had locoregional failure and 15 developed distant metastases. Multivariate analyses showed that clinical T stage, anatomic subsite, and margin status were independent predictors for overall survival; T stage and margin status were independent predictors for locoregional recurrence-free survival.

Conclusion: clinical T stage, anatomic subsite, and margin status are independent predictors of outcome of patients with minor salivary gland cancers of the oropharynx.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / epidemiology
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoma, Adenoid Cystic / epidemiology
  • Carcinoma, Adenoid Cystic / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Mucoepidermoid / epidemiology
  • Carcinoma, Mucoepidermoid / pathology*
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / epidemiology*
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Salivary Gland Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Salivary Gland Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Salivary Glands, Minor
  • Survival Rate / trends
  • Time Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult