Acinic cell carcinoma of the parotid gland: from pathogenesis to management: a literature review

Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2020 Oct;277(10):2673-2679. doi: 10.1007/s00405-020-05998-6. Epub 2020 May 4.


Purpose: Acinic cell carcinoma (ACCs) is uncommon malignant epithelial neoplasm of the salivary glands; the most common presentation is a well-defined painless solid mass. Diagnosis of ACCs is frequently complicated, due to its similarity with benign tumors.

Methods: A review of the literature available on ACCs was carried out. Studies were sourced from PubMed with searching of relevant headings and sub-headings and cross-referencing.

Results: There are no clear characteristics of ACCs found on CT, MRI and ultrasound imaging. The management of the ACC, a rare malignancy of the parotid gland, is often difficult and controversial. Radical surgery is the best treatment option. The role of radiotherapy remains controversial: the precise indications and oncologic effects of adjuvant radiotherapy in ACC of the parotid gland are not well known. There is insufficient literature regarding the chemotherapy for metastatic ACC.

Conclusion: Knowledge about ACC, a rare malignancy of parotid gland, has changed over the past few decades. More clinical randomized works would be needed, both to assess the real effectiveness of radio and chemotherapy and to have an unanimous consensus about their indications.

Keywords: Acinic cell carcinoma; Lateral skull base neoplasm; Parotid gland.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma*
  • Carcinoma, Acinar Cell* / diagnosis
  • Carcinoma, Acinar Cell* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Parotid Gland / diagnostic imaging
  • Parotid Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Parotid Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Radiotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Salivary Glands