Pediatric primary salivary gland tumors

Am J Otolaryngol. 2023 Sep-Oct;44(5):103948. doi: 10.1016/j.amjoto.2023.103948. Epub 2023 Jun 8.


Objectives: To characterize the presentation and treatment of children presenting with primary salivary gland neoplasms.

Methods: A retrospective review of primary salivary tumor patients presenting to Children's Hospital Colorado between January 2000 and August 2020.

Results: Fifty children were identified with primary salivary gland tumors, comprising of 39 (78 %) benign and 11 (22 %) malignant lesions. Pleomorphic adenoma was the most common benign tumor (36/39, 92 %), while acinic cell carcinoma was the most common malignancy (7/11, 64 %). The parotid gland was the most common site, followed by the submandibular gland (66 % vs. 34 %). No tumors were found in the sublingual glands. Benign neoplasms accounted for 70 % of parotid lesions and 94 % of submandibular tumors. No significant differences in age (13.6 years, SD 4 vs. 13.0 years, SD 4.3) were noted between patients with benign and malignant disease, but tumors in females were more frequently malignant (M:F 1:1.3 vs. 1:2.7 for benign and malignant tumors, respectively). Neck dissection and/or facial nerve sacrifice were required in 27 % (3/11) and 9.1 % (1/11) of malignancies, respectively. Local recurrence was observed in 7.7 % (3/39) of benign cases and 9.1 % (1/11) of malignant cases. No salivary malignancies required chemotherapy, though one patient with neurofibromatosis received imatinib prior to resection. Two patients with locoregional malignancy received adjunctive radiation. The average duration of follow up for benign and malignant disease were 12.6 ± 25 and 45.1 ± 32 months, respectively.

Conclusions: This study presents one of the larger single institutional experiences of pediatric primary salivary neoplasms in the past 20 years, identifying pleomorphic adenoma and acinic cell carcinoma as the most common benign and malignant etiologies, respectively. While this review found most neoplasms presented as a localized mass effectively managed with conservative surgical resection, aggressive tumors required multidisciplinary care.

Keywords: Parotid; Pediatric; Salivary; Submandibular; Tumor.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma, Pleomorphic* / pathology
  • Adolescent
  • Carcinoma, Acinar Cell* / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Acinar Cell* / therapy
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Parotid Gland / pathology
  • Parotid Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Salivary Gland Neoplasms* / epidemiology
  • Salivary Gland Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Salivary Gland Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Submandibular Gland