Salivary gland carcinoma

From Dog
Salivary gland carcinosarcoma, showing an invasive and firm mass in submandibular region involving salivary gland, muscular tissues and the jugular vein[1]

Primary salivary gland carcinoma are an uncommon neoplasm of the canine salivary gland.

Secondary metastases are common from other organs especially from mammary tumors[2].

Variants include adenocarcinoma[3], basal cell carcinoma[4], basosquamous carcinoma, acinic cell carcinoma[5], carcinosarcoma and carcinoma-ex-pleomorphic adenoma.

Clinically affected dogs usually present with anorexia, ptyalism, halitosis, dysphagia and pain when the mouth is opened[6]. A large non-painful swelling is usually evident in the submandibular region.

Regional lymphadenopathy and local invasion of surrounding maxillary, temporal or mandibular bone is common[7], resulting in exophthalmos, sudden-onset blindness, otitis externa, hyphema and anterior uveitis in some dogs[8].

Diagnosis can be presumptively established on clinical examination but definitive diagnosis requires histological examination of fine-needle or surgically biopsied tissue samples[9].

A differential diagnosis would include thyroid carcinoma, oral tumors, carnassial tooth root abscess and foreign-body induced abscess.

Treatment usually involves surgical extirpation with adjunctive radiation therapy[10] or chemotherapy with drugs such as doxorubicin or carboplatin.

Median survival times in most aggressively treated cases is 1 - 2 years[11].


  1. Almeida, AP et al (2010) Salivary gland carcinosarcoma in a dog. Braz J Vet Pathol 3(2):137-141
  2. Shin SK et al (2011) Basosquamous carcinoma with systemic metastasis in a miniature Pinscher. Jpn J Vet Res 59(4):173-179
  3. Militerno G et al (2005) Cytological diagnosis of mandibular salivary gland adenocarcinoma in a dog. J Vet Med A Physiol Pathol Clin Med 52(10):514-516
  4. Sozmen M et al (2003) Salivary gland basal cell adenocarcinoma: a report of cases in a cat and two dogs. J Vet Med A Physiol Pathol Clin Med 50(8):399-401
  5. Brunnert SR & Altman NH (1990) Canine lingual acinic cell carcinoma (clear cell variant) of minor salivary gland. Vet Pathol 27(3):203-205
  6. Louw GJ & van Schouwenburg SJ (1984) A case of a highly invasive carcinoma of a salivary gland in a crossbred dog. J S Afr Vet Assoc 55(3):131-132
  7. Grevel V et al (1978) Multiple bone metastases of a salivary-gland carcinoma in a dog. Roentgenologic, angiographic and pathologic-anatomy findings. Schweiz Arch Tierheilkd 120(1):13-22
  8. Habin DJ & Else RW (1995) Parotid salivary gland adenocarcinoma with bilateral ocular and osseous metastases in a dog. J Small Anim Pract 36(10):445-449
  9. Fu XW (1989) Cytologic diagnosis of salivary gland lesions by fine needle aspiration. Zhonghua Bing Li Xue Za Zhi 18(4):279-280
  10. Evans SM & Thrall DE (1983) Postoperative orthovoltage radiation therapy of parotid salivary gland adenocarcinoma in three dogs. J Am Vet Med Assoc 182(9):993-994
  11. Hammer A et al (2001) Salivary gland neoplasia in the dog and cat: survival times and prognostic factors. J Am Anim Hosp Assoc 37(5):478-482