Salivary gland cancers (SGCs), categorized as head and neck cancers (HNCs), constitute about 6% of head and neck cancer diagnoses based on estimate by American Head and Neck Society. Salivary gland tumors originate from different glandular cell types and are thus morphologically diverse. These tumors arise from any of the three major and various minor salivary glands. The incidence of SGCs has slowly increased during the last four decades. The etiology of SGCs is mostly unknown; however, specific gene mutations are associated with certain types of salivary tumors. Treatment options include surgical resection, radiation therapy (RT), chemotherapy, and multimodality therapy. HNC patients treated with RT often develop xerostomia and salivary hypofunction due to damaged salivary glands. In this review, we discuss etiology of SGCs, present findings on the role of autophagy in salivary tumorigenesis, review adverse effects of radiation treatment, and examine remedies for restoration of salivary function.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research