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Oral Oncol. 2009 Aug;45(8):669-74. doi: 10.1016/j.oraloncology.2008.10.010. Epub 2008 Dec 17.

Survival from salivary glands adenoid cystic carcinoma in European populations.

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Evaluative Epidemiology Unit, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori, Via Venezian 1, Milan, Italy.


Adenoid cystic carcinoma (ACC) of salivary gland origin is rare. The EUROCARE data provide a good opportunity to study the survival of this uncommon cancer in a large population. A total of 2611 cases, aged 15 to 99 years, diagnosed between 1983 and 1994 with primary salivary gland ACC were analyzed. Thirty-two population based cancer registries from seventeen countries participating in EUROCARE contributed the data. Relative survival by sex, age, period of diagnosis, region, site and stage, and the adjusted relative excess risk (RER) of death were estimated. Survival since diagnosis was 94%, 78% and 65% at 1, 5 and ten years, respectively. Ten-year survival was best (69%) in patients of the youngest age group (15-54 years) and from Northern Europe (69%). In the UK was higher (65%) than in Western (62%) and Eastern (56%) Europe. ACCs in nasal cavity (RER 2.6), pharynx (RER 3.5) and larynx and bronchus (RER 3.9) had a worse prognosis compared to those of oral cavity. A strong effect of stage at diagnosis on RERs and some worsening of survival at five years over time (80% in 1983-1985, 76% in 1992-1994) were also evident. The findings of the present study, as those from clinical studies, confirm the important impact of primary site and stage at diagnosis on survival. Furthermore, we could demonstrate that survival for ACC did not improve over time and that cases from Eastern countries had a significant worse prognosis. Improvements in the disease detection in its early stage and international collaborative research should be encouraged.

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