Adenoid cystic carcinoma of salivary glands

Adenoid cystic carcinoma (ACC) of the salivary glands is the second most common malignancy involving the parotid and the most common involving minor salivary glands.

ACCs arise more commonly in the minor salivary glands (~55%) than in the major salivary glands. They are locally aggressive with propensity for perineural spread 5


Generally, a distinction is made radiologically between low-grade and high-grade adenoid cystic carcinomas. Low-grade tend to be well-defined malignancies as opposed to high-grade ACCs who appear infiltrative. However, both subtypes are usually homogeneously enhancing after contrast administration.

ACCs are frequently associated with perineural spread (cranial nerve VII), which is more appreciated on MRI.

Signal characteristics
  • T1: hypo- to isointense
  • T2: slightly hyperintense, with higher grades being markedly hyperintense
  • T1 C+ (Gd): homogeneous enhancement
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Article Information

rID: 20129
System: Head & Neck
Section: Pathology
Tag: cases
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Adenoid cystic carcinoma of salivary glands
  • Adenocystic carcinoma of the parotid
  • Adenocystic carcinoma of the salivary glands
  • Adenoid cystic carcinoma of the salivary glands

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Cases and Figures

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    Fig 1: frequency table of salivary glands tumours
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    Case 1
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