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Signet-ring Cell (Mucin-Producing) Adenocarcinomas of Minor Salivary Glands

Ghannoum, Julien E. DMD*; Freedman, Paul D. DDS†

American Journal of Surgical Pathology: January 2004 - Volume 28 - Issue 1 - pp 89-93
Original Article

We report seven cases of minor salivary gland carcinomas characterized by the marked presence of mucin-containing signet-ring cells. These tumors were distinctive in their microscopic appearance and displayed features not seen in any other type of salivary gland malignancy. They typically exhibited invasive growth by narrow parallel strands, randomly scattered small nests, or individually infiltrating cells. Solid, cribriform, or targetoid areas were absent, as well as papillary components. Ductal differentiation was minimal, and seen in only four cases. Degrees of cellularity varied from one area to another. The tumors were cytologically bland. We think that these tumors represent a unique subset of intraoral minor salivary gland carcinomas.

Salivary gland adenocarcinomas form a diverse group of neoplasms, the classification of which remains unsettled and complex. The designation “adenocarcinoma, not otherwise specified” is used by default when the malignant neoplasm lacks the specific features of an established type of malignant salivary gland tumor. In our experience, in rare instances, these tumors have a prominent signet-ring cell component. Unfortunately, there are few data available in the English literature regarding signet-ring cell adenocarcinomas (SRCAs) of salivary gland origin. In an attempt to further describe such tumors, we present seven cases arising from intraoral minor salivary glands.

From the Department of *Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology and †Section of Oral Pathology, New York Hospital Medical Center of Queens, Flushing, NY.

Reprints: Paul D. Freedman, DDS, Oral Pathology Laboratory, 57-20 141st St, Flushing, NY (e-mail:

© 2004 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.