Radiotherapy in parotid acinic cell carcinoma: does it have an impact on survival?

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2012 May;138(5):463-6. doi: 10.1001/archoto.2012.226.


Objective: Acinic (or acinar) cell carcinoma (ACC) represents approximately 10% of salivary gland malignant tumors and most commonly occurs in the parotid gland. It carries a propensity for locoregional and distant metastasis. Although it is selectively used as an adjuvant in this tumor, radiotherapy (RT) has not been sufficiently examined in large population studies for survival impact.

Design: Retrospective database review.

Setting: Tertiary care center.

Patients: A total of 1241 cases of parotid ACC in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program database from 1988 to 2007 were identified and analyzed.

Interventions: Comparison groups were surgery and surgery plus RT. Kaplan-Meier survival curves were generated for oncologic stage and histologic grade.

Main outcome measures: Overall survival.

Results: A total of 969 patients had sufficient staging data for inclusion. When comparing surgery with surgery with adjuvant RT, there was no statistical difference in overall survival when stratifying for stage I (P = .57), stage II (P = .37), stage III (P = .25), and stage IV (P = .24) tumors. Similarly, adjuvant RT did not demonstrate a survival advantage when stratified by histologic grade of tumor. The highest-grade and highest-stage tumors were fewer in number, however.

Conclusions: To our knowledge, this study represents the largest cohort of patients treated for ACC of the parotid. Adjuvant RT does not seem to provide a significant survival advantage for early-stage or lower-grade parotid ACC. Radiotherapy for highest-stage and highest-grade tumors requires further study.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoma, Acinar Cell / epidemiology
  • Carcinoma, Acinar Cell / radiotherapy*
  • Carcinoma, Acinar Cell / surgery
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parotid Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Parotid Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Parotid Neoplasms / surgery
  • Retrospective Studies
  • SEER Program
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States / epidemiology