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Primary Salivary Gland Type Tumors of the Thymus

Kalhor, Neda MD; Weissferdt, Annikka MD; Moran, Cesar A. MD

Advances In Anatomic Pathology: January 2017 - Volume 24 - Issue 1 - p 15–23
doi: 10.1097/PAP.0000000000000132
Review Articles

The existence of primary salivary gland type tumors (SGTs), similar to those occurring in the major salivary glands, is well known in the thoracic cavity. When they occur in this anatomic area, these tumors more commonly arise from the lung. However, the existence of these tumors primarily affecting the thymus, although recognized in the literature, is rather not well documented or known. In addition, contrary to the primary lung SGTs, which are predominantly of the malignant type, these tumors when occur in thymus encompass a wider spectrum of biology ranging from benign to low grade, and high grade malignancy. The recognition of SGTs in the thymus, even though rare, is important to properly address treatment and prognosis. Herein, we will discuss the numerous benign a malignant SGTs that have been described in the thymus and highlight the difficulty that these tumors may pose when occurring in the thymic area.

Department of Pathology, The University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX

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

Reprints: Neda Kalhor, MD, Department of Pathology, MD Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe BLVD, Houston, TX 77030 (e-mail:

All figures can be viewed online in color at

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