Mucoepidermoid carcinoma. An update and review of the literature

J Stomatol Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2020 Dec;121(6):713-720. doi: 10.1016/j.jormas.2020.06.003. Epub 2020 Jun 18.


Objective: Mucoepidermoid Carcinoma (MEC) is the most common malignant salivary gland neoplasm, representing 10 to 15% of all salivary neoplasms. A review of the literature was conducted in order to determine trends in presentation, diagnostic features, treatment, and outcomes.

Methods: A PubMed, Embase, and Scopus search was carried out. The search process was performed by 2 independent reviewing authors and inclusion criteria included systematic reviews, meta-analyses, case-controls studies, cohort studies, comparative studies, clinical trials, cross-sectional studies, descriptive studies, experimental studies, case reports, case series studies, and human studies evaluating MEC.

Results: Females were more affected (54.5%) and the average age was 48.8 years. The most common location of MEC was the parotid glands (56.8%) followed by hard palate (18%). The most frequent clinical presentation was mass (65.2%) followed by ulcer (29.4%) with pressure as their main symptom (64.4%). The most frequent histologic presentation was Low grade (46.7%) followed by Intermediate grade (27.3%) and the most used treatment was surgery (76.2%). The average follow up was 138.5months, and recurrence was reported at 8.5%.

Conclusion: MEC showed a strong predilection for the parotid glands is frequently painful, most frequently presents as a mass and most commonly has a low-grade histologic presentation.

Keywords: Cancer; Mucoepidermoid carcinoma; Salivary glands.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Mucoepidermoid* / diagnosis
  • Carcinoma, Mucoepidermoid* / epidemiology
  • Carcinoma, Mucoepidermoid* / surgery
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Parotid Gland
  • Salivary Gland Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Salivary Gland Neoplasms* / epidemiology
  • Salivary Gland Neoplasms* / therapy