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Primary Pulmonary Salivary Gland-type Tumors: A Review and Update

Falk, Nadja MD*; Weissferdt, Annikka MD, FRCPath; Kalhor, Neda MD; Moran, Cesar A. MD

Advances In Anatomic Pathology: January 2016 - Volume 23 - Issue 1 - p 13–23
doi: 10.1097/PAP.0000000000000099
Review Articles

Pulmonary salivary gland-type tumors (SGT) comprise a very small proportion of primary lung neoplasms. The most common tumors among this group are mucoepidermoid carcinoma and adenoid cystic carcinoma. Contrary to the head and neck region, benign SGT such as pleomorphic adenomas are exceedingly rare in the pulmonary system. More recently, 2 additional SGT, namely hyalinizing clear cell carcinoma and salivary duct-like carcinoma were recognized as primary lung tumors expanding the spectrum of SGT that have been described to originate in the tracheobronchial system. Primary pulmonary SGT must be clinically excluded from metastatic salivary gland neoplasms as their morphology is indistinguishable from that of their salivary gland counterparts. Little is known about the clinical behavior and best treatment approach for these unusual tumors. In this review, we provide a comprehensive summary of primary pulmonary SGT with particular emphasis on morphologic characteristics and latest developments in terms of immunohistochemical and molecular techniques.

*Department of Pathology, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA

Department of Pathology, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX

The authors have no funding or conflicts of interest to disclose.

Reprints: Annikka Weissferdt, MD, FRCPath, Department of Pathology, MD Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Blvd, Houston, TX 77030 (e-mail:

All figures can be viewed online in color at

Copyright © 2016 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.