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Salivary Gland Tumor

About salivary gland tumors in children

Salivary gland tumors are more likely to be cancerous in children when compared to adults. About half of the salivary gland tumors are cancerous in children. Most of the tumors occur in a salivary gland called parotid gland (located at the angle of the jaw below the ear lobes on both sides). The types of cancerous salivary gland tumors include mucoepidermoid carcinoma, adenoid cystic carcinoma, acinic cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma NOS.

Evaluation and treatment

Salivary gland tumors generally present as a painless swelling. They are diagnosed by a needle biopsy. Surgery is the treatment of choice. Radiation therapy may be indicated in selected cases. Chemotherapy is rarely indicated.


At Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Center, we  are further interested in understanding the  presentation and outcomes of children with salivary gland tumors in order to identify more effective treatments. We have established the North American Pediatric Salivary Gland Tumor Registry to collect information on children with salivary gland tumors. Email us at to get information on how to enroll in the registry.


Techavichit, Piti, M. John Hicks, Dolores H. López-Terrada, Norma M. Quintanilla, R. Paul Guillerman, Stephen F. Sarabia, Hadi Sayeed, et al. “Mucoepidermoid Carcinoma in Children: A Single Institutional Experience.” Pediatric Blood & Cancer, July 29, 2015. doi:10.1002/pbc.25681. PMID: 26221861