Lacrimal gland masses

Lacrimal gland masses​ can be classified into two broad groups - inflammatory (~50%) and neoplastic, either lymphoma (25%) or salivary gland type tumors (~25%). 



Most are epithelial in origin, with ~50% benign and ~50% malignant. 

Benign epithelial tumors 

These lesions are slow-growing masses more commonly found in adults in their fourth to fifth decades of life:

Malignant epithelial tumors
Non-epithelial neoplasms

Most of these cases are seen in the third decade of life, but distribution is bimodal with an earlier peak in the teenage years.

Differential diagnosis

Other rare causes of lacrimal gland masses include tuberculosis, amyloidosis, thyroid-associated orbitopathy, granulomatosis with polyangiitis. Sickle cell disease is reported to cause lacrimal gland edema 4

Extra-lacrimal masses that occur in the superolateral orbit should be considered, e.g. dermoid/epidermoid cyst, subperiosteal abscess 2

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Article information

rID: 12160
System: Head & Neck
Section: Gamuts
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Lacrimal gland tumours
  • Lacrimal gland tumors
  • Tumours of the lacrimal glands
  • Mass lesions involving the lacrimal glands

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1: adenoid cystic carcinoma
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  • Case 2: acinic cell adenocarcinoma
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  • Pleomorphic adeno...
    Case 3: pleomorphic adenoma
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  • Case 4: lacrimal gland lymphoma
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  • Case 5: lacrimal gland lymphoma
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  • Case 6: lacrimal gland lymphoma
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  • Case 7: Sjogren syndrome
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