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Management of Lacrimal Gland Carcinoma: Lessons From the Literature in the Past 40 Years

Woo, Kyung In M.D.*†; Yeom, Arim; Esmaeli, Bita M.D.*

Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: January/February 2016 - Volume 32 - Issue 1 - p 1–10
doi: 10.1097/IOP.0000000000000531
Major Review

Purpose: To review the published literature on management strategies for lacrimal gland carcinomas.

Methods: Review of relevant articles in PubMed published in English from the year of 1970 through September 2014.

Results: A review of literature suggests that treatment strategies for adenoid cystic carcinoma of lacrimal gland are varied, but local control does not necessarily prevent future delayed distant relapse. Tumor size and histologic features of lacrimal gland carcinoma seem to be important prognostic features. With improved imaging modalities providing better tumor diagnosis and staging, and availability of more focused radiation delivery techniques, multimodality globe sparing management of lacrimal gland carcinomas may be possible in selected cases. The availability of targeted drugs based on the molecular signature of an individual lacrimal gland carcinoma may offer possible targeted treatments for patients with nonresectable or metastatic disease.

Conclusion: Given the rarity of lacrimal gland carcinoma, multi-institutional studies and consistent reporting of size and histologic type of tumors in the literature may be prudent. Particularly, multimodality globe-sparing treatment strategies should be studied further.

Management options for lacrimal gland carcinoma are outlined through a comprehensive review of the literature published from 1970 to September 2014.

*Orbital Oncology and Ophthalmic Plastic Surgery, Department of Plastic Surgery, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, U.S.A.; Department of Ophthalmology, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea; Rice University, Houston, Texas, U.S.A.

Accepted for publication June 4, 2015.

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

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Bita Esmaeli, M.D., F.A.C.S., Orbital Oncology & Ophthalmic Plastic Surgery, Department of Plastic Surgery, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Blvd, Unit 1488, Houston, TX 77030. E-mail:

© 2016 by The American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Inc., All rights reserved.