Acinic cell carcinoma overview

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Acinic cell carcinoma Microchapters


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Historical Perspective



Differentiating Acinic cell carcinoma from other Diseases

Epidemiology and Demographics

Risk Factors


Natural History, Complications and Prognosis


History and Symptoms

Physical Examination


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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]


Acinic cell carcinoma is one of the salivary gland tumors. The symptoms of acinic cell carcinoma include enlarged salivary gland, nausea, vomiting and digestion problems. Treatments include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy.


Features of acinic cell carcinoma on fine needle aspiration include stippled chromatin and granular cytoplasm.

Differential diagnosis

Acinic cell carcinoma should be differentiated from parotitis, parotid gland benign tumor and mucoepidermoid carcinoma.

Epidemiology and demographics

Acinic cell carcinoma can appear at any age however, it is common in children.

Risk factors

Radiation exposure and positive family history are known risk factors for acinic cell carcinoma.


Screening is not recommended for acinic cell carcinoma.

Natural history, prognosis and complications

Acinic cell carcinoma is a slow growing tumor and it may affect the facial nerve or other adjacent tissues depending on its location. Prognosis is most favorable when the parotid gland is involved.

History and symptoms

Acinic cell carcinoma commonly presents with a mass in the neck, difficulty in swallowing and persistent pain.

Physical Examination

Physical examination of neck may reveal a firm swelling and tenderness.


Staging of acinic cell carcinoma depends on tumor size and location.


Patients with acinic cell carcinoma have many treatment options. The selection depends on the stage of the tumor. The options are surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or a combination of these methods.

  • Surgery: Surgery is usually the main form of treatment for resectable salivary gland cancers.
  • Radiation therapy: High-energy x-rays and other types of radiations are used to kill cancer cells from keep growing.
  • Chemotherapy: The treatment is to use drugs to stop the growth of cancer cells either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing.