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Role of chemotherapy and molecularly targeted agents in the treatment of adenoid cystic carcinoma of the lacrimal gland
  1. Christophe Le Tourneau1,
  2. Albiruni R A Razak2,
  3. Christine Levy3,
  4. Valentin Calugaru4,
  5. Olivier Galatoire5,
  6. Rémi Dendale4,
  7. Laurence Desjardins3,
  8. Hui K Gan6
  1. 1Département d'Oncologie Médicale, Institut Curie, Paris, France
  2. 2Department of Medical Oncology, Princess Margaret Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  3. 3Département d'Ophtalmologie, Institut Curie, Paris, France
  4. 4Département de Radiothérapie, Institut Curie, Paris, France
  5. 5Département d'Ophtalmologie, Fondation Rothschild, Paris, France
  6. 6Austin-Ludwig Medical Oncology Department, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Christophe Le Tourneau, Département d'Oncologie Médicale – Unité d'Investigation Clinique, Institut Curie, 26, rue d'Ulm – 75248 Paris Cedex 05; christophe.letourneau{at}


Adenoid cystic carcinoma (ACC) is the most common malignant epithelial cancer of the lacrimal gland. Despite a slow rate of growth, ACCs are ultimately associated with poor clinical outcome. Given the rarity of this disease, most recommendations regarding therapy are guided by expert opinion and retrospective data rather than level 1 evidence. Surgery and postoperative radiation therapy are commonly used as initial local treatment. In patients at high risk of recurrence, concomitant platinum-based chemotherapy may be added to postoperative radiotherapy in an attempt to enhance radio-sensitivity. While encouraging responses have been reported with intra-arterial neoadjuvant chemotherapy, this strategy is associated with substantial toxicity and should be considered investigational. For patients with metastatic disease not amenable to surgery or radiotherapy, chemotherapy may have a role based on its modest efficacy in non-lacrimal ACC. Similarly, molecular targeted agents may have a role, although the agents tested to date in non-lacrimal ACC have been disappointing. A better understanding of the biology of ACC will be crucial to the future success of developing targeted agents for this disease.

  • Adenoid cystic carcinoma
  • lacrimal gland
  • targeted therapy
  • chemotherapy
  • microbiology
  • treatment medical

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  • Competing interests None to declare.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.