Mucoepidermoid carcinoma CT

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Badria Munir M.B.B.S.[2] , Maria Fernanda Villarreal, M.D. [3]


On CT scan, characteristic findings of mucoepidermoid carcinoma include: well-circumscribed masses, usually with cystic components (low-grade tumors), enhancements of solid components, and calcification. High-grade tumors have poorly defined margins, infiltrate locally, and appear solid.

CT scan of face showing mucoepidermoid carcinoma of parotid gland. courtesy of A.Prof Frank Gaillard,, rID: 4298


  • CT findings associated with mucoepidermoid carcinoma include:[1]
  • Well-circumscribed masses, usually with cystic components (low-grade tumors)
  • Poorly defined margins, infiltrate locally and appear solid (high-grade tumors)
  • Low-grade tumors were intraluminal homogeneous nodules or masses with or without obstructive change
  • Some low-grade mucoepidermoid carcinoma are lobular heterogeneous masses containing multilobular cystic structures filled with low-attenuation fluid
  • Multiple punctate or coarse calcifications.[2]
  • CT scanning and MRI are helpful in distinguishing an intraparotid deep-lobe tumor from a parapharyngeal space tumor and for evaluation of cervical lymph nodes for metastasis.[2]
  • Other CT findings associated with mucoepidermoid carcinoma include:


  1. Mucoepidermoid carcinoma. Radiopedia. Dr Frank Gailliard. Accessed on February 17, 2016
  2. 2.0 2.1 McGahan, J P; Walter, J P; Bernstein, L (1984). "Evaluation of the parotid gland. Comparison of sialography, non-contrast computed tomography, and CT sialography". Radiology. 152 (2): 453–458. doi:10.1148/radiology.152.2.6739814. ISSN 0033-8419.
  3. Jin GQ, Su DK, Xie D, Zhao W, Liu LD, Zhu XN (August 2011). "Distinguishing benign from malignant parotid gland tumours: low-dose multi-phasic CT protocol with 5-minute delay". Eur Radiol. 21 (8): 1692–8. doi:10.1007/s00330-011-2101-y. PMC 3128264. PMID 21547526.
  4. Kress E, Schulz HG, Neumann T (July 1993). "[Diagnosis of diseases of the large salivary glands of the head by ultrasound, sialography and CT-sialography. A comparison of methods]". HNO (in German). 41 (7): 345–51. PMID 8376181.