Oral and salivary gland angiosarcoma: A clinicopathologic study of 29 cases

Julie C. Fanburg-Smith, Mary A. Furlong, Esther L.B. Childers

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77 Scopus citations


Angiosarcomas of the oral and salivary gland area are extremely rare, mostly presented as case reports. We wanted to study the clinicopathologic features of a series of oral and salivary gland angiosarcomas. Cases coded as "angiosarcoma" were retrieved from the Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology Department of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology. Patient folders and pathology were reviewed and recorded; immunohistochemistry and follow-up were obtained. Inclusion required oral or salivary gland location, vasoformative growth, cytologic atypia, mitoses, and vascular markers. Skin, bone, and subcutaneous angiosarcomas were excluded. Primary and secondary (metastatic) oral angiosarcomas were included. The 22 primary angiosarcomas involved tongue (n = 9), parotid (n = 4), lip (n = 4), submandibular gland (n = 3), and 1 each of soft and hard palate. The 7 secondary angiosarcomas involved the gingiva (n = 4) and parotid gland (n = 3). Overall, patient ages ranged from 6-90 years (mean, 55 years). There were 15 males and 14 females. Symptoms included a mass with recent enlargement and bleeding. Tumor sizes ranged from 0.8-7.0 cm (mean, 2.6 cm). Histologically, all tumors were vasoformative; 86% had solid and 17% had distinctive papillary areas. Eight (28%) were classified as the epithelioid subtype. Immunohistochemical stains showed that the tumor cells were positive for Factor VIIIrag in 19/21, CD31 in 16/19, CD34 in 7/12, and Ulex in 1/1. Primary tumors were classified as low grade (n = 7, in all locations except salivary gland), intermediate (n = 7), and high grade (n = 8); all secondary tumors were high grade. Follow-up was available on 14/22 primary and 7/7 secondary angiosarcomas. Of primary tumors, two tongue angiosarcoma patients died at 1 and 9 years, but 4 were alive without disease over a mean of 7.3 years (range, 1-13 years). Four primary salivary gland angiosarcoma patients were alive without disease over a mean of 5.8 years (range, 1-14 years), and 1 had only a late (15 years) metastasis and death (at 20 years). Three primary lip angiosarcoma patients were without disease over a mean of 14.3 years (range, 13-16 years). Of secondary tumors, three salivary gland angiosarcoma patients died within 1 year, and all four secondary gingival angiosarcoma patients died of disease within 3 years. Assessing follow-up of primary oral and salivary gland angiosarcoma patients by grade, 5 patients with high-grade tumors had no evidence of disease over a mean of 7.6 years (range, 1-16 years), 3 patients with intermediate-grade tumors had no evidence of disease over a mean of 12.7 years (range, 11-14 years), 2 patients with intermediate-grade tumors died of disease at 9 and 20 years, 3 patients with low-grade tumors had no evidence of disease over a mean of 6.3 years (range, 1-14 years), and 1 patient with low-grade tumor died of disease at 1 year. Primary oral and salivary gland angiosarcomas, albeit rare, mostly involve the tongue, parotid gland, and lip of adults, often with relatively good outcome. Although the most common angiosarcoma morphology in this area is spindled vasoformative and solid, almost one third of oral and salivary gland angiosarcomas are the rare epithelioid angiosarcoma variant. Most gingival and few parotid angiosarcomas appear to be metastases from other locations, with many patients succumbing to death within 3 years. Despite predominantly high- or intermediate-grade morphology, patients with primary angiosarcoma of the tongue, salivary gland, and lip have a better prognosis than do patients with primary cutaneous or deep soft tissue angiosarcoma, including those patients with secondary oral and salivary gland involvement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)263-271
Number of pages9
JournalModern Pathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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