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Ophthal Plast Reconstr Surg. 2004 Jan;20(1):22-6.

Outcomes in patients with adenoid cystic carcinoma of the lacrimal gland.

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  • 1Ophthalmology Section, Department of Plastic Surgery, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA.



To evaluate the outcomes among patients with adenoid cystic carcinoma of the lacrimal gland treated at various stages of their disease at a tertiary care cancer center.


A retrospective case series of 20 patients with adenoid cystic carcinoma of the lacrimal gland treated at a single institution between 1952 and 2002. Clinical records were available for all 20 patients; histologic sections from 12 of the 20 patients were available for review. Disease-free survival was measured from the completion of treatment; overall survival was measured from the date of initial diagnosis.


The study included 6 men and 14 women. The mean age at diagnosis was 39.5 years. The median follow-up time was 34 months (range, 6 to 264 months). The local/regional treatment modalities included exenteration with bone removal and radiation therapy (RT) in 5 patients, exenteration with RT (no bone removal) in 8 patients, exenteration (no RT or bone removal) in 1 patient, exenteration with bone removal (no RT) in 1 patient, local resection with RT in 3 patients, and local resection without RT in 2 patients. Overall, 16 patients had RT as part of their treatment regimen. Seven patients (35%) had local recurrence. Sixteen patients (80%) had distant metastasis during the study period. At the time of this report, 13 (65%) of the patients had died of disease. The median disease-free survival for the entire group was 18 months. Eight patients had a predominantly basaloid histologic pattern. Ten patients had verifiable histologic evidence of perineural invasion.


This study underscores the generally grave prognosis for patients with adenoid cystic carcinoma of the lacrimal gland and the difficulty in making any conclusive recommendations for local therapy for this disease.

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