Epidemiology, outcomes, and prognostic factors in submandibular gland carcinomas: a national DAHANCA study

Marie Westergaard-Nielsen*, Christian Godballe, Jesper Grau Eriksen, Stine Rosenkilde Larsen, Katalin Kiss, Tina Agander, Benedicte Parm Ulhøi, Birgitte Wittenborg Charabi, Tejs Ehlers Klug, Henrik Jacobsen, Jørgen Johansen, Claus Andrup Kristensen, Elo Andersen, Maria Andersen, Kristine Bjørndal

*Corresponding author for this work


PURPOSE: The aim of this study is to present incidence, histological subtypes, survival rates, and prognostic factors based on a national cohort of patients with salivary gland carcinoma.

METHODS: All Danish patients with submandibular gland carcinoma diagnosed from 1990 to 2015 (n = 206) were included and analyzed following histological re-evaluation. Data were collected by the Danish Head and Neck Cancer Group (DAHANCA). Overall, disease-specific and recurrence-free survival were evaluated. Prognostic factors were analyzed with multivariate Cox Hazard Regression.

RESULTS: The study population consisted of 109 (53%) men and 97 (47%) women, median age 62 years (range 11-102). Adenoid cystic carcinoma was the most frequent subtype (50%). Tumour classification T1/T2 (75%) and N0 (78%) was most frequent. The mean crude incidence was 0.17/100,000/year. Most patients (n = 194, 94%) were treated with primary surgery, and 130 (67%) received postoperative radiotherapy. The 5- and 10-year survival rates were for overall survival 64% and 41%, disease-specific survival 74% and 61%, and recurrence-free survival 70% and 56%, respectively. Survival rates were higher for adenoid cystic carcinoma compared to other subtypes, but the difference was not significant in multivariate analysis. Recurrence occurred in 69 patients, and 37 (53.6%) of them had recurrence in a distant site. Advanced T-classification and regional lymph-node metastases had significant negative impact on survival rates.

CONCLUSION: The incidence of submandibular gland carcinoma in Denmark was 0.17/100,000/year and stable during the time period. The most frequent subtype was adenoid cystic carcinoma. Half of the recurrences presented in a distant site, and multivariate analysis confirmed that advanced stage was independent negative prognostic factor for recurrence and survival.


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoma, Adenoid Cystic/epidemiology
  • Child
  • Female
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local/epidemiology
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Salivary Gland Neoplasms/epidemiology
  • Submandibular Gland
  • Survival Rate
  • Young Adult


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