These tumours arise from the mucosal minor salivary glands distributed throughout the upper aerodigestive tracts. The majority of these minor salivary gland tumours are malignant and occur predominantly in the oral cavity. Adenoid cystic carcinomas make up over one-third of the minor salivary carcinomas. Other carcinomas include adenocarci-noma and mucoepidermoid carcinoma. These tumours have a low rate of cervical lymph node involvement but a high rate of distant metastasis. Their 5-year cure rates following surgical resection are typically lower than for a squamous carcinoma of the same site.
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