Prognostic factors for adenoid cystic carcinoma of the head and neck: a retrospective evaluation of 96 cases

J Oral Pathol Med. 1990 Mar;19(3):101-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0714.1990.tb00806.x.


Cases of adenoid cystic carcinomas of the salivary (n = 90) and lacrimal glands (n = 6) from the years 1965-1980 were evaluated retrospectively with regard to clinical, epidemiologic and histomorphologic parameters, and in 52 cases, nuclear DNA content was assessed using a single cell scanning cytophotometry procedure in order to determine prognostic factors. Clinical courses were poor with a high incidence of recurrences, hematogenous metastases and deaths from tumor. Histology was related to prognosis, glandular tumors showing a better prognosis than solid ones. Tumor size greater than 4 cm was correlated with an unfavorable clinical course in all cases. Cytophotometry yielded various types of histograms (7 diploid, 10 proliferative, 14 triploid, 19 atypical, 2 tetraploid). Significant correlations were found as to the time of survival, tumors with diploid histograms showing the longest intervals and those with atypical ones the shortest. Although the prognosis of adenoid cystic carcinoma remains poor, cytophotometry can offer additional prognostic information in the individual case.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoma, Adenoid Cystic / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Adenoid Cystic / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Adenoid Cystic / secondary
  • Cell Nucleus / analysis
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic
  • Cytophotometry
  • DNA, Neoplasm / analysis
  • Diploidy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lacrimal Apparatus Diseases / genetics
  • Lacrimal Apparatus Diseases / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Probability
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Salivary Gland Neoplasms / genetics
  • Salivary Gland Neoplasms / pathology*


  • DNA, Neoplasm