Carcinoma of the minor salivary gland (MSG) prognosis is associated with histologic subtype, tumor subsite, age at the time of diagnosis, grade, and surgical therapy, according to a study published in JAMA Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery.1

Because there is limited evidence surrounding the prognostic factors of MSG carcinoma available to guide oncologists in counseling patients on the prognosis and management of this type of head and neck cancer, researchers sought to evaluate the 5- and 10-year cause-specific survival rates of MSG carcinomas.

For the study, researchers analyzed data from 5334 patients with MSG carcinoma included in the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database.

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The most common histologic subtypes were mucoepidermoid carcinoma, adenoid cystic carcinoma, and adenocarcinoma. The most frequent head and neck tumor subsites were the oral cavity and the pharynx.

Results showed that the 5-year cause-specific survival rate was significantly worse for patients with MSG malignant neoplasms in the larynx (HR, 2.42; 95% CI, 1.67 – 3.50) and the nasal cavity and/or paranasal sinus (HR, 1.73; 95% CI, 1.29 – 2.32).

Researchers found that age was also associated with survival. Patients older than 75 years had a significantly worse 5-year cause-specific survival rate (HR, 2.88; 95% CI, 2.05 – 4.06).

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In terms of positive prognostic factors, local tumor destruction (HR, 0.44; 95% CI, 0.30 – 0.64), partial surgery (HR, 0.33; 95% CI, 0.23 – 0.47), and total surgery (HR, 0.55; 95% CI, 0.41 – 0.74) were each associated with improved 5-year cause specific survival compared with no surgery.

Of note, this is the largest study to date to assess the survival of patients with MSG carcinoma in the United States.


  1. Baddour Jr HM, Fedewa SA, Chen AY. Five- and 10-year cause-specific survival rates in carcinoma of the minor salivary gland [published online ahead of print December 3, 2015]. JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. doi: 10.1001/jamaoto.2015.2805.