Salivary Gland Cancer: Subtypes

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

ON THIS PAGE: You will find a list of common subtypes of salivary gland tumors. Use the menu to see other pages.

There are many types of salivary gland tumors. Doctors classify the subtype of salivary gland tumor by looking at tumor cells under a microscope, called a histologic evaluation. Your doctor can provide more information about your specific diagnosis.

Benign tumor subtypes

  • Pleomorphic adenoma (benign mixed tumor)

  • Papillary cystadenoma lymphomatosum (Warthin’s tumor)

  • Oncocytoma

  • Monomorphic adenoma, including basal cell adenoma, glycogen-rich adenoma, and clear cell adenoma, among others

  • Sebaceous adenoma

  • Sebaceous lymphadenoma

  • Papillary ductal adenoma

  • Benign lymphoepithelial lesion

Cancerous tumor subtypes

  • Carcinoma ex pleomorphic adenoma

  • Mucoepidermoid carcinoma

  • Hybrid basal cell carcinoma–adenoid cystic carcinoma

  • Adenoid cystic carcinoma

  • Acinic cell carcinoma

  • Adenocarcinoma

  • Polymorphous low-grade adenocarcinoma

  • Oncocytic carcinoma (malignant oncocytoma)

  • Clear cell carcinoma

  • Epithelial-myoepithelial carcinoma of intercalated ducts

  • Squamous cell carcinoma

  • Undifferentiated carcinoma

  • Metastatic carcinoma

Source: Tumors of the Head and Neck, Clinical and Pathological Considerations, 2nd Edition, John G. Batsakis, MD, Copyright 1979, published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

The next section in this guide is Stages and Grades. It explains the system doctors use to describe the extent of salivary gland cancer. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.