DOI: 10.5858/arpa.2023-0038-ra ISSN:

Salivary Gland–like Tumors of the Breast

Edward T. Richardson, Vickie Y. Jo, Stuart J. Schnitt
  • Medical Laboratory Technology
  • General Medicine
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


The World Health Organization classification of tumors of the breast recognizes several special type carcinomas and benign lesions with features comparable to those of salivary gland tumors.


To discuss the histologic, immunophenotypic, molecular, and clinical features of salivary gland–like carcinomas of the breast. These breast tumors are often negative for hormone receptors and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2), that is, triple-negative, but they generally have a much better prognosis than triple-negative breast carcinomas of no special type. We compare the immunophenotypic, molecular, and clinical features of these breast tumors with their salivary gland counterparts, highlighting similarities and differences. We also discuss benign salivary gland–like breast tumors. Finally, we highlight recent developments in understanding the molecular pathogenesis of these breast tumors and novel ancillary studies that can be used to support their diagnosis.

Data Sources

A literature review was conducted, and papers were selected for further analysis and discussion by the authors of this review based on their novelty, applicability, and impact in the field.


Breast tumors that exhibit morphologic overlap with salivary gland tumors have been recognized by pathologists for decades, but the similarities and differences in their molecular pathogenesis have not been understood until more recently. These developments have led to novel diagnostic tools and further knowledge of these rare breast lesions.

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