Malignant Tumors of the Parotid Gland in Children: Incidence and Outcomes

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Abstract

Background

Population-based analysis of the incidence, demographics, and management outcomes in children with malignant tumors of the parotid gland.

Methods

Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results database (1973–2009) was researched for all patients younger than 20 years.

Results

Overall, 284 patients were identified. Annual incidence of these tumors was 1.43 cases per million. The highest incidence occurred in girls (0.86/1,000,000), black children (0.849/1,000,000), and adolescents (1.56/1,000,000). Median age at diagnosis was 13.5 years. Most patients were 10 years or older (n = 256, 90%). Most patients presented with local disease (n = 207, 76%). Only 3% had metastasis at time of diagnosis. Most tumors were mucoepidermoid carcinomas (n = 139, 49%) or acinar cell carcinomas (n = 113, 40%). There were no differences in survival between mucoepidermoid and acinar cell carcinomas (96% vs 98% respectively, P = 0.317). Overall mortality was 4.6% over the study period. Overall survival was 96% at 5 years, 95% at 10 years, and 83% at 20 years. Adolescents had significantly higher mortality rates (7.1% vs 1.6% for children <15 years of age, P = 0.23). Multivariate analysis identified the use of adjuvant radiation therapy (hazard ratio, 6.01; 95% confidence interval, 1.15–31.45; P = 0.034) as the only independent predictor of poor outcome.

Conclusions

Malignant parotid gland tumors are most common in adolescents, and this subgroup has worse outcomes. The role of radiotherapy remains controversial.

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