Salivary Gland Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Stage I Major Salivary Gland Cancer
Low-grade stage I tumors of the salivary gland are curable with surgery alone.[1,2,3] Radiation therapy may be used for tumors for which resection involves a significant cosmetic or functional deficit or as an adjuvant to surgery when positive margins are present. Neutron-beam therapy is effective in the treatment of poor-prognosis patients with malignant salivary gland tumors.[5,6,7]
High-grade stage I salivary gland tumors that are confined to the gland in which they arise may be cured by surgery alone, though adjuvant radiation therapy may be used, especially with the presence of positive margins.
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Postoperative radiation therapy should be considered when the resection margins are positive.
Standard treatment options:
Localized high-grade salivary gland tumors that are confined to the gland in which they arise may be cured by radical surgery alone.
Postoperative radiation therapy may improve local control and increase survival rates for patients with high-grade tumors, positive surgical margins, or perineural invasion.[Level of evidence: 3iiiDii][9,10,11]
Treatment options under clinical evaluation:
Clinical trials exploring newer methods of local control are appropriate. The role of chemotherapy remains under evaluation, though data suggest that some salivary gland tumors may be responsive to chemotherapy.[12,13]
Current Clinical Trials
Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with stage I salivary gland cancer. The list of clinical trials can be further narrowed by location, drug, intervention, and other criteria.
General information about clinical trials is also available from the NCI Web site.
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Mendenhall WM, Morris CG, Amdur RJ, et al.: Radiotherapy alone or combined with surgery for salivary gland carcinoma. Cancer 103 (12): 2544-50, 2005.
Chen AM, Granchi PJ, Garcia J, et al.: Local-regional recurrence after surgery without postoperative irradiation for carcinomas of the major salivary glands: implications for adjuvant therapy. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 67 (4): 982-7, 2007.
Kaplan MJ, Johns ME, Cantrell RW: Chemotherapy for salivary gland cancer. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 95 (2): 165-70, 1986.
Eisenberger MA: Supporting evidence for an active treatment program for advanced salivary gland carcinomas. Cancer Treat Rep 69 (3): 319-21, 1985.