by Jason Wasserman MD PhD FRCPC
March 6, 2023
Basal cell adenoma (BCA) is a non-cancerous type of salivary gland tumour. The most common location for this tumour is the parotid gland although it can be found in any of the major or minor salivary glands located throughout the head and neck.
No. Basal cell adenoma is a non-cancerous type of salivary gland tumour.
No. Basal cell adenoma is a non-cancerous tumour and the cells do not have the ability to metastasize (spread) to other parts of the body.
Most BCAs are sporadic which means the tumour develops without any known genetic or environmental risk factors. However, the risk of developing this tumour is higher in people with familial/multiple cylindromatosis syndrome.
Most BCAs present as a small painless lump over one of the salivary glands.
The diagnosis of BCA can be made after a small sample of the tumour is removed in either a core needle biopsy or fine needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB). The diagnosis can also be made after the entire is removed in an excision or resection. The tissue removed is then sent to a pathologist for examination under the microscope.
When examined under a microscope, most BCAs look dark blue because the tumour is made up predominantly of basal cells that have a large nucleus (the part of the cell that holds the genetic material) relative to the overall size of the cell. A bright pink ‘basement-membrane type’ material is often seen in between groups of tumour cells. The tumour may be described as well-circumscribed which means there is a clear border between the tumour and the surrounding normal salivary gland tissue.