OBJECTIVE: To test the validity of the reported high incidence (50%) of malignancy in neoplasms of the submandibular salivary gland, and to compare it with that of the parotid gland.
METHODS: This is a retrospective analysis of major salivary gland neoplasms in 127 patients who were treated between August 1988 and December 2004 (15½ years) at Kalafong Hospital, Pretoria.
RESULTS: All but 1 of the patients were black. There were 100 benign and 27 malignant tumours. Thirty tumours were in the submandibular gland, including 3 malignant tumours, i.e. 10%. Of 97 parotid gland tumours, 24 (24.7%) were malignant.
CONCLUSION: The 10% incidence of malignancy in neoplasms of the submandibular gland in our series is much lower than the 50% reported in the literature. We postulate that race (black ethnicity) is probably a factor in this low incidence.