Sialoblastoma in adults: distinction from adenoid cystic carcinoma

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Essentially, sialoblastoma is a disease of infancy with the oldest case presenting at 4 years of age. About one third of pediatric sialoblastoma cases will have a cribriform growth pattern. No adult cases have been reported with a specific diagnosis of sialoblastoma. If even focal cribriforming were present, such cases have undoubtedly been diagnosed as adenoid cystic carcinoma. Such was the circumstance in the 3 adult tumors presented in this report. Each case, however, has the primitive histopathology with discrete nests of basaloid tumor cells, associated bilayered ductal structures and the fibromyxoid stroma characteristic for sialoblastoma with its resemblance to fetal salivary gland or salivary gland with arrested development. One key example has 28-year follow-up. Sialoblastoma, whether in a child or adult with or without a cribriform growth pattern, appears to have a more favorable prognosis than adenoid cystic carcinoma. Aspects of the histological differential diagnosis of these 2 tumors are discussed.

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