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Adenoid cystic carcinoma

Other Names for this Disease
  • Adenocystic carcinoma
  • Cribriform carcinoma
  • Cylindroma
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Adenoid cystic carcinoma is a rare form of adenocarcinoma (a cancer that arises from gladular tissue). Adenoid cystic carcinoma is found mainly in the head and neck, but can occasionally occur in a woman’s uterus or other sites in the body. It most commonly occurs in the salivary glands, in locations such as the palate (the roof of the mouth), nasopharynx (air passageway at the upper part of the throat and behind the nose), inner lining of the mouth, larynx, or trachea. Symptoms may include difficulty swallowing, hoarseness, dull pain, numbness or palpable lumps. Regardless of its location, adenoid cystic carcinoma tends to spread along nerves or through the bloodstream. A small percentage of cases spread to the lymph nodes. The most common location for metatasis is the lung. Adenoid cystic carcinoma is often unpredictable, with long periods of no activity followed by rapid growth. The cause of adenoid cystic carcinoma is not known and no specific risk factors have been identified. Treatment depends on the size and location of the tumor, whether the cancer has spread, and the patient's overall health, but may include surgery, radiation or chemotherapy.[1]
Last updated: 1/15/2009


  1. Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma. CancerNet (American Society of Clinical Oncology). July 2008; Accessed 1/15/2008.
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Basic Information

  • The Oral Cancer Foundation provides information about adenoid cystic carcinoma. Visit the above link to access this information.
  • Cancer.Net, a resource from the American Society of Clinical Oncology, provides information about adenoid cystic carcinoma. Click on the above link to access this information.
  • The National Cancer Institute provides the most current information on cancer for patients, health professionals, and the general public.  Click on the link to view information on this topic. 
  • The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) is a federation of more than 130 nonprofit voluntary health organizations serving people with rare disorders. Click on the link to view information on this topic.

In Depth Information

  • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Adenoid cystic carcinoma. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.