Oral cavity
Minor salivary gland tumors / lesions

Topic Completed: 1 November 2013

Revised: 4 February 2019

Copyright: (c) 2004-2019, PathologyOutlines.com, Inc.

PubMed Search: Cystadenocarcinoma minor salivary glands

Nella Cristina Fernandez, M.D.
Page views in 2019: 402
Page views in 2020 to date: 29
Cite this page: Fernandez NC Cystadenocarcinoma. PathologyOutlines.com website. http://www.pathologyoutlines.com/topic/oralcavitycystadenocarcinoma.html. Accessed February 23rd, 2020.
Definition / general
  • Also called papillary cystadenocarcinoma, mucus producing adenopapillary (nonepidermoid) carcinoma, malignant papillary cystadenoma and low grade papillary adenocarcinoma of palate
  • 2005 WHO classification considered low grade salivary duct carcinoma to be a variant of cystadenocarcinoma, designated as low grade cribriform cystadenocarcinoma (LGCCC)
  • < 1% of all salivary gland tumors
  • No sex predilection
  • Mean age 59 years
  • 65% occur in major salivary glands (mainly parotid)
  • Minor salivary gland sites: buccal mucosa, lips, palate are most frequent
Clinical features
  • Slow growing, compressible, asymptomatic mass
  • Tumors of palate may erode bone
Prognostic factors
Case reports
  • Superficial parotidectomy, glandectomy of submandibular and sublingual tumors and wide excision of minor gland tumors
  • Bone resection performed only when it is directly involved by tumor
Gross description
  • At least partially circumscribed, 0.4 - 6 cm
  • Multiple cystic spaces that are variable in size and often filled with mucin
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Well circumscribed but not encapsulated
  • Irregularly arranged cysts, filled with mucin
  • Ruptured cysts with hemorrhage and granulation tissue are common
  • Intervening fibrous stroma
  • Small solid neoplastic islands or duct-like structures may be seen
  • Lumens of the cysts exhibit varying degrees of papillary growth (75% of cases)
  • Cell types of lining epithelium include, most often, small and large cuboidal and columnar cells, occasionally mucous, clear and oncocytic cells
  • Typically bland nuclei with conspicuous nucleoli and rare mitoses
  • Diagnostic criteria: cysts and smaller duct-like structures at least focally infiltrate the salivary parenchyma and surrounding connective tissue
Microscopic (histologic) images

Images hosted on other servers:

Infiltrative growth pattern

Cystic lesion with papillary projections

Cyst with papillary projections


Mucin spillage

Cyst lining

Positive stains
Differential diagnosis
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