Adenoid cystic carcinoma: A review of recent advances, molecular targets, and clinical trials

Patrick M. Dillon*, Samhita Chakraborty, Christopher A. Moskaluk, Prashant J. Joshi, Christopher Y. Thomas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

197 Scopus citations


Background Adenoid cystic carcinoma (ACC) is a rare tumor of secretory glands. In this study, recent advances in molecular characterization and in therapeutics are reviewed. Methods A search of articles in PubMed and of abstracts from national meetings was performed regarding ACC. Results Recent genetic analyses found that recurrent chromosome 6:9 translocations in ACC generate an MYB:NFIB gene fusion resulting in overexpression of the MYB oncoprotein. Several other frequent mutations are recently published that may be relevant for drug development. Several trials of targeted drugs are reviewed. Some agents delay tumor progression, but tumor responses remain rare. Conclusion ACCs have a characteristic chromosomal translocation, but also frequently pick up additional mutations. Clinical research is limited by the rarity and slow growth of ACC. Several ongoing trials are testing agents that inhibit fibroblast growth factor receptor signaling or other signaling pathways. Novel treatments based on the recently sequenced tumor genome are under development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)620-627
Number of pages8
JournalHead and Neck
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • MYB gene
  • NFIB gene
  • adenoid cystic carcinoma
  • nuclear factor I/B
  • salivary gland
  • tyrosine kinase inhibitor


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