Management of salivary gland malignancies: current and developing therapies

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Mark Agulnik (1*), Camille F. McGann (2), Bharat B. Mittal (3), Sara C. Gordon (4), Joel B. Epstein (5)

1 Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology, Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, United States.
2 Chief Resident, Department of Radiation Oncology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center, Chicago, United States.
3 Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center, Chicago, United States.
4 Associate Professor, Department of Oral Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, College of Dentistry, Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Pathology, College of Medicine, University of Illinois, United States.
5 Professor, Department of Oral Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences, College of Dentistry, University of Illinois and Director, Interdisciplinary Program in Oral Cancer, Chicago Cancer Center, University of Illinois, United States.
(*) Corresponding Author:
Mark Agulnik
m-agulnik@northwestern.edu

Abstract

Salivary gland tumors are rare, clinically diverse neoplasms that represent less than 1% of all malignancies. In locoregional recurrent or metastatic disease, systemic therapy is the standard approach. While numerous small phase II studies have evaluated the activity of cytotoxic agents, either alone or in combination, the response rates are generally modest with objective response rates ranging from 15%–50%. Duration of response is cited in the range of 6–9 months. Given this, further evaluation of novel therapies is mandatory in these diseases. With the emergence of molecular targeted therapy, these tumors become optimal candidates for trials of investigational drugs and established drugs for new indications. Of note, given the often indolent nature of disease, only patients with progressive disease should be enrolled and treated on these clinical trials. Study designs must incorporate stringent inclusion criteria to enable accurate reporting of disease response and stabilization. With dedication and co-operation, patients with these rare neoplasms can be accrued to clinical trials and the establishment of new treatment guidelines will be forthcoming.

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How to Cite
Agulnik, M., McGann, C. F., Mittal, B. B., Gordon, S. C., & Epstein, J. B. (2011). Management of salivary gland malignancies: current and developing therapies. Oncology Reviews, 2(2), 86-94. https://doi.org/10.4081/oncol.2008.86