Note: Some citations in the text of this section are followed by a level of evidence. The PDQ editorial boards use a formal ranking system to help the reader judge the strength of evidence linked to the reported results of a therapeutic strategy. (Refer to the PDQ summary on Levels of Evidence for more information.)
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]
Palliative care helps relieve symptoms that bother the patient and helps improve the patient's quality of life.
The goal of palliative care is to improve the quality of life of patients who have a serious or life-threatening disease. Palliative care is meant to prevent or treat symptoms, side effects, and psychological, social, and spiritual problems caused by a disease or its treatment.
Palliative care for patients with advanced cancer includes nutrition therapy (see the Treatment of Symptoms...
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.
Standard treatment options:
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.
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