Salivary glands

Primary salivary gland neoplasms



Last author update: 1 September 2012
Last staff update: 1 December 2021

Copyright: 2003-2023,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Lymphadenoma[TI] salivary

Adriana Handra-Luca, M.D., Ph.D.
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Cite this page: Handra-Luca A. Lymphadenoma. website. Accessed September 25th, 2023.
Definition / general
  • Rare benign tumor with nests and islands of bland epithelium composed in part of sebaceous elements, with lymphoid stroma
  • Called sebaceous lymphadenoma if lymphoid stroma is prominent
  • Also called benign lymphoepithelial cyst with sebaceous differentiation
Clinical features
  • 0.1% of salivary gland neoplasms, < 0.5% of salivary adenomas
  • Over 90% occur in or near the parotid gland or in minor salivary glands
  • May arise from salivary duct inclusions within parotid lymph node, similar to Warthin tumor (Am J Clin Pathol 1980;74:683)
  • Fine needle aspiration cytology identifies a benign process but usually not diagnosed prior to excision (Acta Otorhinolaryngol Ital 2007;27:144)
Case reports
Gross description
  • Solid or cystic, well circumscribed, tan-yellow mass, up to 3 cm, with variable encapsulation
Gross images

Case #103

Large nodule is
sebaceous adenoma,
small nodule on left
is oncocytoma

Images hosted on other servers:

Parotid gland masses

Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Benign, encapsulated, solid and cystic (Mod Pathol 2012;25:26)
  • Nests and islands of benign squamous cells, often lining a cyst; epithelial nests have focal sebaceous differentiation
  • Background is prominent lymphoid infiltrate, often with germinal centers
  • May be associated foreign body reaction, histiocytes, oncocytic change
  • Rarely malignant change to sebaceous carcinoma
  • May be combined / hybrid / synchronous tumors with Warthin tumor, acinic cell carcinoma, adenoid cystic carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma (Eur J Cancer B Oral Oncol 1996;32B:251, Pathol Res Pract 1993;189:577, J Oral Surg 1979;37:826)
Microscopic (histologic) images

Case #103

Large nodule

Images hosted on other servers:

Benign parotid mass with sebaceous features and lymphoid stroma

Parotid gland mass

With synchronous squamous cell carcinoma

Cytology description
  • Mixed population of large and small lymphocytes, plasma cells and occasional tingible body macrophages
  • 3 dimensional, cohesive aggregates of epithelial cells, often with cytoplasmic vacuoles characteristic of sebaceous differentiation, surrounded by layers of basaloid cells (Acta Cytol 2004;48:551)
Cytology images

Case #103

Diff-Quik touch prep

Positive stains
Negative stains
Molecular / cytogenetics description
Differential diagnosis
  • Low grade mucoepidermoid carcinoma: epithelial islands, ducts and cysts tend to be haphazardly distributed with variable shapes and sizes; usually infiltration of connective tissue or parenchyma; cells have some atypia, cells are mucin+
  • Normal sebaceous glands: present in 10% of parotid glands but no mass
  • Warthin tumor: prominent cysts and lymphoid stroma, cysts have bilayered oncocytic epithelium
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