Salivary Gland Cancer: Latest Research

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 08/2015

ON THIS PAGE: You will read about the scientific research being done now to learn more about this type of cancer and how to treat it. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

Doctors are working to learn more about salivary gland cancer, ways to prevent it, how to best treat it, and how to provide the best care to people diagnosed with this disease. The following areas of research may include new options for patients through clinical trials. Always talk with your doctor about the diagnostic and treatment options best for you.

  • Combining treatments. There is ongoing research looking at the benefit of different treatment approaches, especially the use of concomitant treatment, which combines more than one treatment.

  • Immunotherapy. Immunotherapy, also called biologic therapy, is designed to boost the body's natural defenses to fight the cancer. It uses materials either made by the body or in a laboratory to improve, target, or restore immune system function. Learn more about immunotherapy.

  • Virus research. Researchers are studying the role of a common virus called cytomegalovirus in the development of salivary gland cancer and how that link could be used to find new treatments.

  • Tumor genetics. Early laboratory research indicates that genetic changes in a salivary gland tumor, particularly those related to the tumor suppressor genes APC and PTEN, may help provide new targets for treatments. Salivary gland cancer requires additional scientific understanding regarding the tumor genetics of this type of cancer. As scientists make advances in the basic fundamental knowledge of genetics and how these cancers develop, new treatment options based on these findings will develop. Learn more about targeted therapy.

  • Radiosensitizers. Researchers are investigating the use of radiosensitizers in the treatment of salivary gland cancer. Radiosensitizers are drugs that make tumor cells more sensitive to radiation therapy, making radiation therapy more effective.

  • Palliative care. Clinical trials are underway to find better ways to reduce or treat the side effects of cancer therapy, to improve patients’ quality of life.

Looking for More About the Latest Research?

If you would like additional information about the latest areas of research regarding salivary gland cancer, explore these related items that take you outside of this guide:

The next section in this guide is Coping with Side Effects, and it offers some guidance in how to cope with the physical, emotional, and social changes that cancer and its treatment can bring. Or, use the menu on the side of your screen to choose another section to continue reading this guide.