Mortality risk after clinical management of recurrent and metastatic adenoid cystic carcinoma

J Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2018 Apr 25;47(1):28. doi: 10.1186/s40463-018-0273-z.


Background: Management of locoregional recurrence (LRR) and distant metastasis (DM) in adenoid cystic carcinoma (ACC) is guided by limited data. We investigated mortality risks in patients diagnosed and treated for recurrent ACC.

Methods: A retrospective review of ACC patients treated from 1989 to 2016 identified 36 patients with LRR or DM. High-risk disease was defined as skull base involvement (for LRR) or International Registry of Lung Metastases Group III/IV or extrapulmonary site of metastasis (for DM). Kaplan-Meier method, log-rank tests, and Cox proportional hazards were used for time-to-event analysis.

Results: Among 20 LRR and 16 DM patients, the median times to recurrence were 51 and 50 months, respectively. The median follow-up post-recurrence was 37.5 months (interquartile range (IQR)16.5-56.5). Post-recurrence 3-year overall survival (OS) was 78.5%, 73.3% for LRR and 85.1% for DM (p = 0.62). High-risk recurrences were associated with worse 3-year OS (68.8% for high-risk and 92.3% for low-risk, χ2 = 10.4, p = 0.001). Among LRR patients, 90% had surgery as part of their treatment. Multimodality therapy, age, and histopathologic features (size, margins, solid histology, lymphovascular or perineural invasion) were not associated with PFS or OS. High-risk LRR was the only variable associated with OS (χ2 = 5.9, p = 0.01). Among DM patients, six were initially managed with observation and ten received surgery, RT, or systemic therapy. Upfront therapy was not associated with improved PFS or OS. High-risk DM was the only variable associated with OS (χ2 = 4.7, p = 0.03).

Conclusions: High-risk LRR and DM were associated with decreased 3-year OS. More effective therapies are needed for high-risk ACC recurrences.

Keywords: Adenoid cystic carcinoma; Lung metastases; Recurrence; Skull base; Survival.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Carcinoma, Adenoid Cystic / mortality*
  • Carcinoma, Adenoid Cystic / secondary*
  • Carcinoma, Adenoid Cystic / therapy
  • Female
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / therapy
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / mortality
  • Lung Neoplasms / secondary
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / mortality*
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / pathology
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / therapy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Skull Base Neoplasms / mortality
  • Skull Base Neoplasms / secondary
  • Survival Analysis
  • Survival Rate