Salivary gland tumors comprise a group of 24 tumor subtypes with a wide range of clinical behaviors and propensities for metastasis. Several prognostic factors have been identified that help predict the development of systemic metastases, most commonly to the lung, liver, or bone. Metastases to the brain are rare. To better understand the behavior of salivary gland tumors that metastasise to the brain, we performed a retrospective cohort analysis on a series of patients to highlight features of their medical and surgical management. From 2007 to 2011, a database of 4117 elective craniotomies were queried at a single institution to identify patients surgically treated for salivary gland metastases to the brain. Three patients were identified. Histologic subtypes included salivary duct carcinoma, poorly differentiated carcinoma, and papillary mucinous adenocarcinoma. They had all undergone previous treatment for their primary malignancy. The mean time to intracranial metastasis was 48 months from initial diagnosis (range, 14–91 months). Treatment for intracranial metastases included surgical resection, whole brain radiation, stereotactic radiosurgery, and chemotherapy. Intracranial metastases from salivary gland tumors are rare, present years after diagnosis of the primary tumor, and are treatable with multimodality therapy.
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Accepted: November 18, 2012
Received: November 7, 2012
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