Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma: Latest Research

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 12/2021

ON THIS PAGE: You will read about the scientific research being done to learn more about this type of cancer and how to treat it. Use the menu to see other pages.

Doctors are working to learn more about adenoid cystic carcinoma (AdCC), 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 best diagnostic and treatment options for you. 

  • Targeted therapy. As explained in Types of Treatment, targeted therapy is being developed and tested in clinical trials that may be useful as a treatment approach for AdCC. In particular, research continues about anti-angiogenesis therapy (see next bullet), as well as to determine the molecular mechanism that regulates the spread of AdCC along the nerves and specifically looking into NOTCH1 gene mutations. These gene mutations may help doctors understand how the disease will respond to targeted therapy. Learn more about the basics of targeted treatments.

  • Anti-angiogenesis/TKIs. A specific type of targeted therapy called anti-angiogenesis therapy is an active area of research for AdCC. It is focused on stopping angiogenesis, which is the process of making new blood vessels. Because a tumor needs the nutrients delivered by blood vessels to grow and spread, the goal of anti-angiogenesis therapies is to “starve” the tumor. Research is ongoing on how this type of therapy, which are often given in the form of specific angiogenesis inhibitors called tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), may benefit people with AdCC. TKIs being studied for AdCC include the drugs axitinib (Inlyta) and lenvatinib (Lenvima). Learn more about the basics of angiogenesis and cancer

  • Pathology for diagnosis. Doctors are looking at new ways to better diagnose this cancer. This will help doctors to provide more specific treatment plans based on what they learn. Researchers are looking at the rearrangement of the gene MYP as well as immunophenotyping testing for p63 and p40. These help to show whether a tumor is AdCC or another type of cancer called basal cell adenocarcinoma.

  • Chemotherapy. Several clinical trials are examining the effects of newer chemotherapeutic drugs alone, or in combination with other drugs, in the control of metastatic or locally recurrent AdCC.

  • Palliative care/supportive care. Clinical trials are underway to find better ways of reducing symptoms and side effects of current AdCC treatments to improve comfort and quality of life for patients.

Looking for More About the Latest Research?

If you would like more information about the latest areas of research in AdCC, explore these related items that take you outside of this guide:

The next section in this guide is Coping with Treatment. It offers some guidance on how to cope with the physical, emotional, social, and financial changes that cancer and its treatment can bring. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.