Mohamed A. Jaber, Mawada Hassan, Mohamed Ingafou, Alaa Mohamed Elameen

Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma of the Minor Salivary Glands: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Clinical Characteristics and Management Strategies

  • General Medicine

Background: Intraoral adenoid cystic carcinoma (ACC) arising from minor salivary glands (MSG) is a rare malignancy associated with delayed diagnosis and unfavorable outcomes. This study aimed to comprehensively review ACC of MSGs, focusing on clinical characteristics, imaging modalities, treatment approaches, and long-term outcomes. Methods: A systematic search was conducted in PubMed, Web of Science, and MEDLINE databases to identify relevant articles reporting cases of ACC of MSGs between January 1997 and March 2023. The study was registered in PROSPERO (ID: CRD42023449478). A total of 10 studies that met the inclusion criteria were selected for critical review. In total, 902 patients were diagnosed with ACC of MSGs with an age range of 44.3 to 63 years, and an average age of 56.6 years. The female to male ratio ranges from 1:1 to 2.4:1. Regarding the primary site of ACC, the palate was the most common location, accounting for 30.5% to 83.3%, followed by the buccal mucosa, floor of the mouth, and lip and the retromolar area. For histology, the solid mass pattern was the most prevalent, seen in 95.2% of patients, followed by the cribriform pattern. Regarding treatment modalities, surgery was the most common approach, applied in 76.3% of cases, with a combination of surgery and radiotherapy used in 29.0% of cases. A smaller fraction, 3.2%, received a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy, and 8.3% underwent radiotherapy alone. Local recurrence rates varied between 1% and 28.5%, and distant metastasis occurred in 18.2% to 33.3% of cases, predominantly to lymph nodes (14.5%). An analysis of overall survival across various stages and patient numbers indicated a 5-year survival rate of 68.0%. The findings of this study provide valuable insights for physicians in making treatment decisions and emphasize the need for ongoing research and collaborative clinical efforts to improve the management and outcomes of this challenging disease. Conclusion: ACC of MSGs is a multifaceted condition typically manifesting as asymptomatic enlargement and ulceration. This disease is marked by distinct histopathological patterns and perineural invasion (PNI). Recognizing these distinctive aspects is key in shaping the treatment plan, which can range from surgical procedures to radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and evolving targeted treatments. Continuous research and collaborative clinical efforts remain critical for ongoing progress in the treatment and management of this challenging condition.

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