A single-institution review of lacrimal gland biopsies between 1962 and 2017

Catherine J. Choi, Ann Q. Tran, Apostolos G. Anagnostopoulos, Henry W. Zhou, David T. Tse, Sander R. Dubovy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To examine the clinical and histopathologic characteristics of lacrimal gland biopsies at a tertiary academic center. Methods: A retrospective chart review of patients undergoing lacrimal gland biopsy or excision between 1962 and 2017 was performed via the ocular pathology specimen log. All cases were reviewed for demographics, clinical presentation, and histopathologic diagnoses. Results: Four hundred and two eyes in 356 patients were included in the analysis. Median age was 49 (range 5–91) with a female predominance (255, 72%, p < .001). Most had unilateral involvement (308, 86.5%) and visual acuity of 20/50 or better (332 eyes, 83%). Limitation in extraocular motility was present in 71 eyes (18%), relative afferent pupillary defect in 10 eyes (2.5%), and intraocular pressure 20 mmHg or above in 80 eyes (20%). The pre-operative radiology report commented on the enlargement of the lacrimal gland in 236 eyes (58.7%), and lack thereof in 73 eyes (18.2%). The most common histopathologic diagnoses were nonspecific inflammation or orbital pseudotumor (170, 42%), lymphoma (65, 16%), pleomorphic adenoma (22, 5.5%), adenoid cystic carcinoma (19, 4.7%), granulomatous inflammation (19, 4.7%), and normal lacrimal gland (16, 4%). Three hundred and seven cases were benign (76%) and 95 malignant (24%). The biopsy specimen was diagnostic in 343 (85%), and non-diagnostic in 59 (15%). Conclusions: This is a comprehensive review of one of the largest ocular pathology databases of lacrimal gland lesions. This study confirms the wide range of inflammatory and neoplastic conditions affecting the lacrimal gland and highlights the nuances of histopathologic diagnoses and diagnostic yield of biopsies in clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalOrbit (London)
StateAccepted/In press - 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Adenoid cystic carcinoma
  • lacrimal gland
  • nonspecific orbital inflammation
  • orbital biopsy
  • orbital pseudotumor
  • pleomorphic adenoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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