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Oral Oncol. 2007 Feb;43(2):130-6. Epub 2006 Jul 20.

Mucoepidermoid carcinoma of the salivary glands. Review of the literature and clinicopathological analysis of 18 patients.

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Department of Maxillofacial Surgery, Greek Anticancer Institute, St. Savvas Hospital, 171 Alexandras Avenue, Athens 115 22, Greece.


Salivary gland carcinomas are a rare and clinically diverse group of neoplasms among which mucoepidermoid carcinomas (MEC) are reported to be the most frequently encountered. During the years 1994-2004 18 patients with MEC were treated in our Department. All patients underwent surgery with a curative intent, and in 11 of them treatment was supplemented by radiotherapy. Follow up ranged from 6 to 120 months. Twelve (66.6%) MECs originated from the major salivary glands with the majority located in the parotid. Histologically, 50% of tumors were classified as low grade, 28% as intermediate and 22% as high-grade MECs. Positive surgical margins were documented in six cases (33%) and all in tumors of high or intermediate histological grade. All these patients received adjuvant radiotherapy and one developed local recurrence. Local recurrence occurred in two more patients with histologically free margins. Both received postoperative radiotherapy. Distant metastases were documented in four patients all between 14 and 24 months after surgical treatment. An association between local recurrence and distant metastasis might be suggested since all patients with local recurrences subsequently developed distant metastases. The 5-year overall disease specific survival rate was 85%. Statistical multivariate analysis demonstrated that the factor that significantly correlated with overall survival was the histological grade of tumors (Log Rank test: p=0.013). A trend towards poorer survival was observed in patients aged over 50 years. Our results also suggested a potential benefit of postoperative radiotherapy for patients with positive margins.

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