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Cancer Health Center

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Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma

It is possible that the main title of the report Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.


  • ACC
  • Adenocystic Carcinoma
  • Cribriform Carcinoma
  • Cylindroma

Disorder Subdivisions

  • None

General Discussion

This disease entry was made possible due to the generosity of the Kathleen Keany Memorial Foundation, 8502 East Chapman Avenue, Suite 195, Orange, CA 92869, (714) 538-6920.

Adenoid cystic carcinoma (ACC) is a relatively rare form of cancer that most commonly develops in the salivary glands or other regions of the head and neck. In some cases, ACC may arise in other primary sites, such as the skin; the breast; the neck of the uterus (cervix) in females, the prostate gland in males; or other areas.

The term "cancer" refers to a group of diseases characterized by abnormal, uncontrolled cellular growth that invades surrounding tissues and may spread (metastasize) to distant bodily tissues or organs via the bloodstream, the lymphatic system, or other means. Different forms of cancer, including adenoid cystic carcinoma, may be classified based upon the cell type involved, the specific nature of the malignancy, the tissues or organs affected, and the disease's clinical course.

ACC tumors are characterized by a distinctive pattern in which abnormal "nests" or cords of certain cells (epithelial cells) surround and/or infiltrate ducts or glandular structures within the affected organ. These structures are typically filled with a mucous-like material or contain abnormal fibrous membranes (hyaline membranes). Such characteristics are apparent during microscopic evaluation of the tumor cells. ACC is considered a low-grade malignancy that has a history of slow growth, but tends to be aggressively invasive and to infiltrate nearby lymph nodes as well as the "sheaths" or coatings surrounding nerve fibers (perineural spaces). This form of cancer may have a tendency to recur later at the site where it first developed (local recurrence) and to spread to distant bodily sites, particularly the lungs, potentially resulting in life-threatening complications.


American Cancer Society, Inc.
250 Williams NW St
Ste 6000
Atlanta, GA 30303
Tel: (404)320-3333
Tel: (800)227-2345
TDD: (866)228-4327

National Cancer Institute
6116 Executive Blvd Suite 300
Bethesda, MD 20892-8322
Tel: (301)435-3848
Tel: (800)422-6237
TDD: (800)332-8615

National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship
1010 Wayne Avenue
7th Floor
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Tel: (301)650-9127
Fax: (301)565-9670
Tel: (888)650-9127

Cancer Hope Network
2 North Road
Suite A
Chester, NJ 07930
Tel: (908)879-4039
Fax: (908)879-6518
Tel: (800)552-4366

Support for People with Oral and Head and Neck Cancer, Inc.
P.O. Box 53
Locust Valley, NY 11560-0053
Tel: (516)759-5333
Fax: (516)671-8794
Tel: (800)377-0928

OncoLink: The University of Pennsylvania Cancer Center Resource
3400 Spruce Street
2 Donner
Philadelphia, PA 19104-4283
Tel: (215)349-8895
Fax: (215)349-5445

Association of Community Cancer Centers
11600 Nebel Street, Suite 201
Rockville, MD 20852-2557
Tel: (301)984-9496
Fax: (301)770-1949

Canadian Cancer Society
55 St. Clair Avenue West Suite 500
Toronto, M4V 2Y7
Tel: 4164885400
Fax: 4164882872
Tel: 8002688874

International Cancer Alliance for Research and Education (ICARE)
4853 Cordell Avenue
Suite 14
Bethesda, MD 20814
Tel: (301)656-3461
Fax: (301)654-8684
Tel: (800)422-7361

Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma Organization International
P.O. Box 112186
Tacoma, WA 98411
Tel: (888)223-7983

Rare Cancer Alliance
1649 North Pacana Way
Green Valley, AZ 85614

Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center
PO Box 8126
Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126
Tel: (301)251-4925
Fax: (301)251-4911
Tel: (888)205-2311
TDD: (888)205-3223

Friends of Cancer Research
1800 M Street NW
Suite 1050 South
Washington, DC 22202
Tel: (202)944-6700

Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma Research Foundation
P.O. Box 442
Needham, MA 02494
Tel: (781)248-9699

American Society of Clinical Oncology
2318 Mill Road Suite 800
Alexandria, VA 22314
Tel: (571)483-1780
Fax: (571)366-9537
Tel: (888)651-3038

Cancer Support Community
1050 17th St NW Suite 500
Washington, DC 20036
Tel: (202)659-9709
Fax: (202)974-7999
Tel: (888)793-9355

Lance Armstrong Foundation
2201 E. Sixth Street
Austin, TX 78702
Tel: (512)236-8820
Fax: (512)236-8482
Tel: (877)236-8820

For a Complete Report:

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be downloaded free from the NORD website for registered users. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational therapies (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, go to and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".

The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only. NORD recommends that affected individuals seek the advice or counsel of their own personal physicians.

It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report

This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.

For additional information and assistance about rare disorders, please contact the National Organization for Rare Disorders at P.O. Box 1968, Danbury, CT 06813-1968; phone (203) 744-0100; web site or email

Last Updated: 3/31/2009
Copyright 1999, 2001, 2004 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

WebMD Medical Reference from the National Organization for Rare Disorders

Last Updated: May 28, 2015
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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