by Jason Wasserman MD PhD FRCPC
November 9, 2022
Oncocytoma 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. Oncocytoma is a benign (non-cancerous) type of salivary gland tumour.
Most BCAs are sporadic which means the tumour develops without any known genetic or environmental risk factors. However, some oncocytomas may develop after radiation therapy.
Most oncocytomas present as a small painless lump over one of the salivary glands.
The diagnosis of oncocytoma 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, oncocytomas are made up of large pink oncocytic cells. The cells are called oncocytic because the cytoplasm (body of the cell) is full of thousands of mitochondria, a type of cellular machinery that converts oxygen into energy. The oncocytic cells look pink when examined under a microscope because the mitochondria stick to eosin, a pink-coloured dye found in the hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) stain used by pathologists. 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.