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BMJ Case Rep. 2010; 2010: bcr0320102817.
Published online 2010 December 2. 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


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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