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Logo of bmjcrInstructions for authorsCurrent ToCBMJ Case Reports
BMJ Case Rep. 2010; 2010: bcr0320102817.
Published online Dec 2, 2010. doi:  10.1136/bcr.03.2010.2817
PMCID: PMC3029651
Unusual presentation of more common disease/injury
Difficulty in establishing a diagnosis in an uncommon presentation of a minor salivary gland tumour
Bernhard Attlmayr,1 Consuelo Garrido,2 and David J Alderson3
1ENT Department, Royal Cornwall Hospital, RCHT, Turo, UK
2Department of Histopathology, Torbay Hospital, South Devon Health Care Trust, Devon, UK
3ENT Department, Torbay Hospital, South Devon Health Care Trust, Devon, UK
Correspondence to Bernhard Attlmayr, Bernhard.Attlmayr/at/
We report the case of a man presenting with a large, airway obstructing, minor salivary gland tumour arising from the right tonsillar base. Clinically, the tumour behaved in a malignant way. A firm diagnosis of malignancy could not be made histologically. The differential diagnosis included polymorphous low-grade adenocarcinoma, basal cell adenoma and adenoid cystic carcinoma. However, on balance, based on the clinical presentation, a diagnosis of malignancy was favoured and appropriate treatment was considered. Because of the patient's co-morbidities, further surgery was not an option and it was agreed that the patient should undergo radiotherapy instead. While he was waiting for radiotherapy, the tumour went into remission.
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