Salivary Gland Cancer: Latest Research

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 05/2020

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 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 people through clinical trials. Always talk with your doctor about the best diagnostic and treatment options 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 be new targets for treatments. More needs to be understood about the tumor genetics of salivary gland 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, which then makes radiation therapy more effective.

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

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 Treatment. It offers some guidance in 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.