Mucoepidermoid carcinoma history and symptoms

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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]


The hallmark symptom of mucoepidermoid carcinoma is painless swelling. A positive history of occupational exposure (rubber products manufacturing) may be suggestive of mucoepidermoid carcinoma tumor. Symptoms related with mucoepidermoid carcinoma will vary depending on the size and location of the tumor. Common symptoms of mucoepidermoid carcinoma may include facial numbness, adjacent muscle soreness, mandible claudication, otorrhea, dysphagia, and trismus.


Many lesions may present as: [1][2]

Usually the presenting complaint of mucoepidermoid carcinoma is an asymptomatic swelling in the floor of the mouth, causing some degree of discomfort.

  • A bluish or red purple, fluctuant, smooth surfaced mass that is often clinically mistaken as mucocele.
  • The palate was the most common site for minor salivary gland involvement, which accounts for 41.1%
  • In other cases the tumour may be incidentally discovered by a dentist.[3]
  • Symptoms: duration, onset, and progression
  • Previous exposure to risk factors such as: rubber products manufacturing and asbestos mining
  • Ionizing radiation


  • The majority of mucoepidermoid carcinomas are asymptomatic and are usually found incidentally.[4]
  • Neurological signs, such as numbness or weakness caused by nerve involvement.
  • The hallmark of mucoepidermoid carcinomas is a painless growing swelling.
  • Other symptoms of mucoepidermoid carcinoma may include:


  1. Boahene, Derek Kofi O.; Olsen, Kerry D.; Lewis, Jean E.; Pinheiro, A. Daniel; Pankratz, Vernon Shane; Bagniewski, Stephanie M. (2004). "Mucoepidermoid Carcinoma of the Parotid Gland". Archives of Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery. 130 (7): 849. doi:10.1001/archotol.130.7.849. ISSN 0886-4470.
  2. Eversole LR (1970). "Mucoepidermoid carcinoma: review of 815 reported cases". J Oral Surg. 28 (7): 490–4. PMID 5269211.
  3. Guzzo M, Andreola S, Sirizzotti G, Cantu G (August 2002). "Mucoepidermoid carcinoma of the salivary glands: clinicopathologic review of 108 patients treated at the National Cancer Institute of Milan". Ann. Surg. Oncol. 9 (7): 688–95. PMID 12167584.
  4. Stewart FW, Foote FW, Becker WF (November 1945). "Muco-Epidermoid Tumors of Salivary Glands". Ann. Surg. 122 (5): 820–44. PMC 1618293. PMID 17858687.