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Cancer of the Submandibular Gland

A study by Bhattacharyya analyzed 370 cases of submandibular gland cancer to determine survival and factors affecting survival. Cancer of the submandibular gland accounts for less than 1% of all malignant head and neck cancers. Epidemiologically, 5% to 15% of all salivary gland neoplasms occur in the submandibular gland, and of these submandibular gland neoplasms, approximately 50% are malignant. Therefore, masses arising in the submandibular triangle should be investigated early for potential malignancy. Of the cases analyzed in this study, 42.2% were adenoid cystic carcinoma; 22.2% were mucoepidermoid carcinoma; 17.3% were squamous cell carcinoma; 15.4% were adenocarcinoma; and 3.0% were acinar cell carcinoma. It was found that adenoid cystic carcinoma exhibited the best mean survival (99 months), whereas squamous cell carcinoma exhibited the poorest mean survival (52 months). Factors improving survival included younger age, decreased tumor grade, and radiation therapy. Gender, size of the tumor, extraglandular extension, and nodal positivity did not statistically influence survival.

(Source: Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Vol. 62, No. 4, 2004).

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