Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Cancer Health Center

Font Size

Salivary Gland Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Stage III Major Salivary Gland Cancer

Patients with low-grade stage III tumors of the salivary gland may be cured with surgery alone.[1,2,3] Radiation therapy as primary treatment is not often required but 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.[4] Patients with low-grade tumors that have spread to lymph nodes may be cured with resection of the primary tumor and the involved lymph nodes, with or without radiation therapy. Neutron-beam therapy is effective in the treatment of patients with tumors that have spread to local lymph nodes.

Patients with high-grade stage III salivary gland tumors that are confined to the gland in which they arise may be cured by surgery alone, though adjuvant postoperative radiation therapy may be used, especially if positive margins are present. Primary conventional x-ray radiation therapy may provide palliation for patients with unresectable tumors. Fast neutron beams, however, have been reported to improve disease-free survival and overall survival in this clinical situation.[5,6,7] Patients with tumors that have spread to regional lymph nodes should have a regional lymphadenectomy as part of the initial surgical procedure. Adjuvant radiation therapy for these tumors may reduce the local recurrence rate.

Recommended Related to Cancer

Ewing Sarcoma: Recurrent Tumors

Standard Treatment Options Recurrence of Ewing sarcoma is most common within 2 years of initial diagnosis (approximately 80%).[1,2] However, late relapses occurring more than 5 years from initial diagnosis are more common in Ewing sarcoma (13%; 95% confidence interval, 9.4–16.5) than in other pediatric solid tumors.[3] The overall prognosis for patients with recurrent Ewing sarcoma is poor; 5-year survival following recurrence is approximately 10% to 15%.[2,4,5]; [1][Level of evidence: 3iiA]...

Read the Ewing Sarcoma: Recurrent Tumors article > >

Low-grade Tumors

Standard treatment options:

  1. Surgery alone or with postoperative radiation therapy, if indicated, is appropriate.
  2. Chemotherapy should be considered in special circumstances, such as when radiation or surgery is refused or when tumors are recurrent or nonresponsive.

Treatment options under clinical evaluation:

  • Data in which fast neutron-beam radiation therapy has been used have indicated superior results when compared with conventional radiation therapy using x-rays. The role of chemotherapy is under evaluation.[5,8,9,10]

High-grade Tumors

Standard treatment options:

  1. Patients with localized high-grade salivary gland tumors that are confined to the gland in which they arise may be cured by radical surgery alone.[11,12]
  2. Postoperative radiation therapy may improve local control and increase survival rates for patients with high-grade tumors, positive surgical margins, or perineural invasion.[13][Level of evidence: 3iiiDii][14,15,16]
  3. Fast neutron-beam radiation therapy or accelerated hyperfractionated photon-beam schedules have been reported to be more effective than conventional x-ray therapy in the treatment of patients with inoperable, unresectable, or recurrent malignant salivary gland tumors.[5,6,7,17]

Treatment options under clinical evaluation:

  • Clinical trials exploring ways to improve local control with radiation therapy and/or radiosensitizers and with chemotherapy are under evaluation.[8,9,10,18,19]

Current Clinical Trials

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with stage III salivary gland cancer. The list of clinical trials can be further narrowed by location, drug, intervention, and other criteria.

1|2

WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: February 25, 2014
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.
Next Article:

Today on WebMD

Building a Support System
Blog
cancer fighting foods
SLIDESHOW
 
precancerous lesions slideshow
SLIDESHOW
quit smoking tips
SLIDESHOW
 
Jennifer Goodman Linn self-portrait
Blog
what is your cancer risk
HEALTH CHECK
 
colorectal cancer treatment advances
Video
breast cancer overview slideshow
SLIDESHOW
 
prostate cancer overview
SLIDESHOW
lung cancer overview slideshow
SLIDESHOW
 
ovarian cancer overview slideshow
SLIDESHOW
Actor Michael Douglas
Article