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Polymorphous Low-Grade Adenocarcinoma

National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.


It is possible that the main title of the report Polymorphous Low-Grade Adenocarcinoma is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.


  • PLGA
  • Lobular Carcinoma of the Minor Salivary Glands
  • Low-Grade Papillary Carcinoma of the Palate
  • Pleomorphic Adenoma
  • Terminal Duct Carcinoma

Disorder Subdivisions

  • None

General Discussion

Polymorphous low-grade adenocarcinoma (PLGA) is a rare tumor of the salivary glands that is limited, to a great extent, to the minor salivary glands and commonly, but not exclusively, localized in the palate of the mouth. The major salivary glands are the parotid glands (at the side of the face, below the ears), the sublingual glands (below the tongue), and the submandibular glands (below the lower jaw). As the name suggests, each of the major salivary glands is of substantial size and visible to the naked eye. There are about 600 to 1,000 minor salivary glands that are microscopic in size. These minor salivary glands are found in the lining (mucosa) of the lips, tongue, and hard and soft palate, as well as inside the nose, cheeks, and sinuses.

Less than one (1%) per cent of all cancers reported in the USA are salivary cancers and, of these, 80% begin in the parotid glands, and about 15% begin in the submandibular glands, leaving only 5% that begin in the sublingual and minor salivary glands. Most of the tumors that start in the major salivary glands turn out to be benign, while most, but not all, of the cancers that start in the minor salivary glands turn out to be malignant.


Let's Face It

University of Michigan, School of Dentistry / Dentistry Library

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American Cancer Society, Inc.

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National Cancer Institute

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Support for People with Oral and Head and Neck Cancer, Inc.

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Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center

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Lance Armstrong Foundation

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For a Complete Report

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be downloaded free from the NORD website for registered users. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational therapies (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, go to and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".

The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only. NORD recommends that affected individuals seek the advice or counsel of their own personal physicians.

It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report

This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.

For additional information and assistance about rare disorders, please contact the National Organization for Rare Disorders at P.O. Box 1968, Danbury, CT 06813-1968; phone (203) 744-0100; web site or email

Last Updated:  8/7/2007

Copyright  1991, 2004, 2007 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

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