Journal of Medical Case Reports

BioMed Central

Open Access

Case report

Polymorphous low-grade adenocarcinoma of the tongue: a case
Ruchi Gupta, Kirti Gupta* and Rijuneeta Gupta
Address: Department of Histopathology and Department of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery, Postgraduate Institute of Medical
Education and Research, Chandigarh, India
Email: Ruchi Gupta -ruchipgi@yahoo.co.in; Kirti Gupta* - kirtigupta10@yahoo.co.in; Rijuneeta Gupta - rijuneeta@yahoo.com
* Corresponding author

Published: 2 December 2009
Journal of Medical Case Reports 2009, 3:9313


Received: 16 September 2008
Accepted: 2 December 2009

This article is available from: http://www.jmedicalcasereports.com/content/3/1/9313
© 2009 Gupta et al;licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0),
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Introduction: Polymorphous low-grade adenocarcinoma is a distinct neoplasm of thesalivary
gland composed of luminal and non-luminal tumor cells admixed in varying proportions. Its
resemblance to lobular carcinoma of the breast had led to its earlier nomenclature of 'terminal duct
carcinoma'. Most patients present with an asymptomatic mass in the hard palate. In rare cases, the
mass can also occur in the tongue. We report an unusual case of polymorphous low-grade
adenocarcinomaat the base of tongue.
Case presentation: A 47-year-old Asian Caucasian woman presented with a painless swelling at
the right lateral border of the tongue with an intact overlying mucosa. There were no other
associated complaints. The lesion was excised and subjected to histopathological examination that
revealed an interesting and unusual morphology of polymorphous low-grade adenocarcinoma.Conclusion: Polymorphous low-grade adenocarcinoma is a well-defined entity in the minor
salivary glands. Its occurrence in the tongue is rare with very few cases reported in the literature.
It is a malignant neoplasm with low aggressiveness and it is thus important to identify and treat it


Case presentation

Polymorphous low-grade adenocarcinoma (PLGA) is amalignant neoplasm with a low level of aggressiveness
that occurs almost exclusively in the minor salivary
glands, primarily those in the palate. We report a case of
PLGA that arose at the base of the tongue in a 47-year-old
woman. The tumor was resected through the oral cavity
with wide margins. The patient recovered and remained
disease-free at follow-up. This case shows that PLGA,
whichhas a variable morphologic appearance, can occur
at sites other than the salivary glands.

A 47-year-old Asian Caucasian woman presented with a
painless swelling over the right lateral border of her
tongue that had gradually increased over the four months
prior to presentation. It had an insidious onset and progressively increased in size. The patient had no history of
discharge, bleeding orulceration over the swelling. On
examination, the swelling was 3 × 2 cm in size and was
located along the lateral border at the junction of the anterior 1/3rd and posterior 2/3rd. It was firm in consistency
and well circumscribed with all the margins felt clearly.
The patient had no restriction in the movement of her
tongue. There was no significant peripheral lymphadenPage 1 of 3
(pagenumber not for citation purposes)

Journal of Medical Case Reports 2009, 3:9313


opathy. The lesion was excised and sent for histopathological examination.
On gross examination, it was discovered to be well-circumscribed lesion, 2 × 3 cm in size, firm in consistency
and with a gray-white cut surface. Histological examination showed a...
tracking img