Current opinions on diagnosis and treatment of adenoid cystic carcinoma

Oral Oncol. 2022 Jul:130:105945. doi: 10.1016/j.oraloncology.2022.105945. Epub 2022 Jun 2.


Adenoid cystic carcinoma (ACC) is a rare malignant tumor derived mainly from the salivary glands, representing approximately 1% of all headandneck carcinomasand 10% of all salivary gland neoplasms. ACC displays a paradoxical behavioral combination of an indolent growth pattern but an aggressive progression, with local recurrence and distant metastasis. The propensity of ACC of the head and neck (ACCHN) for perineural invasion and its anatomical location, especially if it extends to the nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses, facilitates tumor involvement in the surrounding structures, such as the orbit, pterygopalatine fossa, Meckel'scave, and cavernous sinus, which can lead to skull base involvement and intracranial extension. Despite advances in molecular mechanisms and diagnostic imaging, ACC treatment remainschallenging due to the lack ofconsensuson treatment patterns. In this review, we aimed toprovideanupdatedinsight intothe understanding of ACCHN by focusing on clinical behavior, imaging diagnosis, pathological features, and therapeutic strategies. We reviewed the molecular mechanisms, especially in ACCHN with perineural invasion, and elaborated on treatment options, including chemotherapy, targeted therapies, and immunotherapy, to establish a comprehensive understanding of ACC to arrive at a policy for proper diagnosis, preoperative evaluation, and therapeutic strategies.

Keywords: Adenoid cystic carcinoma; Head and neck cancer; Perineural invasion; Radiotherapy; Recurrence and metastatic disease.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Adenoid Cystic* / diagnosis
  • Carcinoma, Adenoid Cystic* / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Adenoid Cystic* / therapy
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Humans
  • Salivary Gland Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Salivary Gland Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Salivary Gland Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Salivary Glands / pathology