Recent updates in salivary gland tumors of the lung

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Salivary gland tumors are uncommon primary lesions in the lung. Their morphologic, immunophenotypic, and molecular characteristics resemble those of their counterparts in the head and neck or elsewhere. Most common primary pulmonary salivary gland tumors include mucoepidermoid carcinoma, adenoid cystic carcinoma, and epithelial-myoepithelial carcinoma. The study of these neoplasms is hampered by their paucity. Therefore, studies are in general small or restricted to individual cases. Despite this challenge recent advances have been made specifically at the molecular level. Molecular alterations such as MAML2 rearrangements in mucoepidermoid carcinoma, MYB rearrangements in adenoid cystic carcinomas, and EWSR1 rearrangements in hyalinizing clear cell carcinomas and myoepithelial tumors have been identified. These molecular alterations might be helpful in the distinction of these salivary gland tumors from other neoplasms in the lung. However, the distinction from metastatic disease remains challenging. Awareness of these tumors and knowledge of available ancillary studies to confirm the diagnosis is important to avoid misdiagnosis which might lead to differences in treatment, management, and prognosis. Further studies are needed to identify biomarkers to better predict patient's outcome and for individual management and treatment of patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSeminars in Diagnostic Pathology
StateAccepted/In press - 2021


  • Adenoid cystic carcinoma
  • Lung
  • MAML2 rearrangement
  • Mucoepidermoid carcinoma
  • Pulmonary
  • Salivary gland tumor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

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