Challenges in Minor Salivary Gland Biopsies: A Practical Approach to Problematic Histologic Patterns

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8 Scopus citations


Evaluation of minor salivary gland biopsy can be fraught with a wide range of problems, including technical limitations due to the small size and distorted nature of tissue received and interpretive difficulties navigating the considerable morphologic and immunohistochemical overlap between widely disparate entities. As such, common pathologic findings can evoke a perplexing differential diagnosis that encompasses malignant, benign, and non-neoplastic processes. This review will present the diagnostic considerations that arise from four histologic patterns that are frequently encountered on minor salivary gland biopsies: squamous differentiation, tubular and cribriform growth, mucin production, and myxoid stroma. The discussion herein will emphasize practical strategies and priorities for navigating these differential diagnoses in a clinically-relevant and cost-effective manner.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)476-484
Number of pages9
JournalHead and Neck Pathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019


  • Adenoid cystic carcinoma
  • Clear cell carcinoma
  • Minor salivary glands
  • Mucoepidermoid carcinoma
  • Pleomorphic adenoma
  • Polymorphous adenocarcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Oncology


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