Molecular biology of adenoid cystic carcinoma

Jia Liu, Chunbo Shao, Marietta L. Tan, David Mu, Robert L. Ferris, Patrick K. Ha

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Background. Adenoid cystic carcinoma (ACC) is an unusual salivary gland malignancy that remains poorly understood. Standard treatment, including surgery with postoperative radiation therapy, has attained reasonable local control rates, but the propensity for distant metastases has limited any improvement in survival over time. Our understanding of the molecular mechanisms driving ACC is quite rudimentary, due to the infrequent nature of its occurrence. Methods. An extensive literature review was performed on salivary gland ACCs and basic science research findings. Results. This review highlights many findings that are emerging about the carcinogenesis of ACC including cytogenetics, tumor suppressor genes, oncogenes, epigenetic alterations, mitochondrial alterations, and biomarker studies. Conclusion. Although there have been many discoveries, much still remains unknown about this rare malignancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1665-1677
Number of pages13
JournalHead and Neck
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • DNA
  • adenoid cystic carcinoma
  • genetics
  • molecular

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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