Polymorphous low-grade adenocarcinoma

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Polymorphous low-grade adenocarcinoma
Polymorphous low-grade adenocarcinoma - very low mag.jpg
Low magnification micrograph of a polymorphous low-grade adenocarcinoma, showing the typical variation of architectural arrangement. H&E stain.
Classification and external resources

Polymorphous low-grade adenocarcinoma, often abbreviated PLGA, is a rare, asymptomatic, slow-growing malignant salivary gland tumor.[1] It is most commonly found in the palate.[2]

The name of the tumor derives from the fact that:

  • It has a varied microscopic architectural appearance, i.e. it is polymorphous.
  • It is non-aggressive when compared to other oral cavity tumors, i.e. it is a low-grade tumor.[1]
  • It forms glands, i.e. it is an adenocarcinoma.

It is the second most common malignant tumor of the salivary glands, after Mucoepidermoid Carcinoma. It affects the minor salivary glands in the area between the hard and the soft palate. Male to female ratio is 3:1, and the average age is 56 years.


Micrograph of a polymorphous low-grade adenocarcinoma. H&E stain.

PLGAs consist of a monomorphous cell population that has a varied histologic morphology.

Microscopically, its histology can be confused with an adenoid cystic carcinoma and a pleomorphic adenoma.


PLGAs are treated with wide local surgical excision and long-term follow-up.[2] There is a recurrence rate of 14% (Peterson, contemporary of oral and maxillofacial surgery).

Additional images[edit]

Additional reading[edit]

  • Kahn, Michael A. Basic Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology. Volume 1. 2001.


  1. ^ a b Arathi N, Bage AM (2009). "Polymorphous low-grade adenocarcinoma of parotid gland: a rare occurrence". Indian J Pathol Microbiol 52 (1): 103–5. doi:10.4103/0377-4929.44985. PMID 19136798. 
  2. ^ a b Paleri V, Robinson M, Bradley P (April 2008). "Polymorphous low-grade adenocarcinoma of the head and neck". Curr Opin Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 16 (2): 163–9. doi:10.1097/MOO.0b013e3282f70441. PMID 18327037. 

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