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Salivary Gland Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Cellular Classification of Salivary Gland Cancer

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Malignant Secondary Neoplasms

Malignant neoplasms whose origins lie outside the salivary glands may involve the major salivary glands by:[3]

  1. Direct invasion from cancers that lie adjacent to the salivary glands.
  2. Hematogenous metastases from distant primary tumors.
  3. Lymphatic metastases to lymph nodes within the salivary gland.

Direct invasion of nonsalivary gland tumors into the major salivary glands is principally from squamous cell and basal cell carcinomas of the overlying skin.

Approximately 80% of metastases to the major salivary glands may be from primary tumors elsewhere in the head and neck; the remaining 20% may be from infraclavicular sites.[96,97] The parotid gland is the site of 80% to 90% of the metastases, and the remainder involve the submandibular gland.[97,98] In a decade-long AFIP experience, metastatic tumors constituted approximately 10% of malignant neoplasms in the major salivary glands, exclusive of malignant lymphomas.[3] The majority of metastatic primary tumors to the major salivary glands are squamous cell carcinomas and melanomas from the head and neck that presumably reach the parotid gland via the lymphatic system; infraclavicular primary tumors, such as the lung, kidney, and breast, reach the salivary glands by a hematogenous route.[97,98,99] The peak incidence for metastatic tumors in the salivary glands is reported to be in the seventh decade of life.[3]

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Last Updated: February 25, 2014
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