Salivary glands

Primary salivary gland neoplasms


Basal cell adenocarcinoma

Topic Completed: 1 September 2012

Minor changes: 3 November 2021

Copyright: 2003-2021,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Basal cell adenocarcinoma[TI] salivary

Adriana Handra-Luca, M.D., Ph.D.
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Cite this page: Handra-Luca A. Basal cell adenocarcinoma. website. Accessed December 3rd, 2021.
Definition / general
  • Low grade malignant counterpart of basal cell adenoma; infiltrative with perineurial invasion and vascular invasion (Mod Pathol 2002;15:298)
  • Also called basaloid carcinoma
Clinical features
  • 1 - 2% of salivary gland carcinomas
  • Malignant counterpart of basal cell adenoma - 23% arise within preexisting basal cell adenomas
  • Associated with dermal cylindromas
  • Slow growing
  • Usually parotid gland, adults, ages 50+, also in minor salivary glands
  • No gender predilection
  • Locally destructive
  • 37% recur locally, 8% metastasize (solid pattern) to lymph nodes, 4% to lungs but death from disease is unusual
Gross images

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Bisected specimen with focal hemorrhage

Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Low grade malignancy similar to basal cell adenoma but infiltrative with perineurial invasion and vascular invasion
  • Multicentric, variable cytologic atypia and mitotic activity
  • Two cell types: small cells with scant cytoplasm and dark nuclei (may show palisading pattern) and polygonal cells with eosinophilic / amphophilic cytoplasm and clear nuclei
  • Patterns: solid, trabecular, tubular, membranous
  • No myxoid matrix, no cyst formation
Microscopic (histologic) images

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Hematoxylin eosin

Positive stains
Negative stains
Differential diagnosis
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