, Volume 22, Issue 6, pp 640–646 | Cite as

Intrasellar symptomatic salivary gland: case series and literature review

  • Zhiyong Liu
  • Yang Zhang
  • Ridong Feng
  • Zerong Tian
  • Yaping Rao
  • Ya Lu
  • Jianguo XuEmail author



Ectopic salivary glands have been found in both extracranial and intracranial locations, however, intrasellar symptomatic salivary gland is extremely rare and its clinical manifestation, radiological characteristics and outcome have not been systematically studied. Here we present a case series of intrasellar symptomatic salivary gland and perform a literature review to better characterize this disease.


We retrospectively reviewed the data of three patients with intrasellar symptomatic salivary gland from our institutional and other cases available in literatures. Information for sex, age at diagnosis, clinical symptoms, radiological features, treatment strategy and prognosis were recorded.


A total of 11 cases (including our own) were identified. There were three men and eight women, with an average age at diagnosis of 28.3 years. The peak incidence was in the second and the third decade (72.7% of all cases). The most common symptom was headache (81.8% of all patients). About 63.6% patients had one or more abnormal hormone levels, and prolactin was likely the most vulnerable hormone. The radiological appearances of intrasellar salivary gland were various, and four cases mimicked pituitary adenoma radiologically. All patients underwent transsphenoidal surgery with no mortality.


Although intrasellar symptomatic salivary gland is rare, it should be considered in the differential diagnosis of intrasellar lesions. Preoperative diagnosis is challenging since it mimics pituitary neoplasm in clinical and radiological manifestations, and confirmation for this disease could only be conducted through pathological examination. Transsphenoidal surgical resection is the preferred therapy and the patient prognosis is usually good.


Ectopic salivary gland Intrasellar lesion Pituitary gland Transsphenoidal surgery 


Author contributions

ZL participated the study conception, performed the literature search and revised the manuscript. YZ participated the study conception, collected data and drafted the manuscript. RF performed the literature search and data analysis. ZT collected the image data. YR and YL collected and analyzed the pathological pictures of patients. JX participated the study conception and manuscript revision.


This work was supported by Sichuan Science and Technology Project (2019YFS0393); China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (2017M623038); Science and Technology Project of Sichuan Health and Family Planning Commission (18PJ424).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of NeurosurgeryWest China Hospital, Sichuan UniversityChengduChina
  2. 2.West China School of MedicineWest China Hospital, Sichuan UniversityChengduPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Department of PathologyWest China Hospital, Sichuan UniversityChengduChina

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