Malignant salivary gland tumors are rare, constitute a heterogeneous group and are often difficult to diagnose histologically. This is borne out by the fact that in the present study 43.2% of 118 salivary gland tumors originally diagnosed as mucoepidermoid, acinic cell and adenoid cystic carcinomas had their original diagnosis altered upon reclassification. Patients with confirmed adenoid cystic carcinomas had a much worse prognosis than those with mucoepidermoid and acinic cell carcinomas. DNA flow cytometry showed that very few of the above mentioned three types of malignant neoplasms revealed aneuploid DNA stemlines, indicating that this is not a relevant prognostic tumor marker within the groups. However, several of the tumors that had their diagnosis changed, mostly to undifferentiated adeno- or squamous cell carcinomas, showed aneuploid DNA stemlines. The survival time of patients with aneuploid tumors was considerably reduced compared to those with diploid tumors. Among confirmed acinic cell, mucoepidermoid and adenoid cystic carcinomas the S-phase fraction was a significant prognostic factor, as it was among all tumors examined. This indicates that DNA aneuploidy and S-phase fractions are potential prognostic factors for malignant salivary gland tumors, and that DNA flow cytometry may assist the characterization of such tumors.