PURPOSE: To report a case of lacrimal gland adenoid cystic carcinoma (ACC) with an atypical initial presentation and to postulate an anatomical explanation for this unusual biologic behavior. DESIGN: Interventional case report. METHODS: An orbital magnetic resonance imaging study of a 58-year-old man who complained of progressive diplopia and orbital discomfort disclosed a soft tissue mass in the left cavernous sinus and orbital apex. The left lacrimal gland and the contiguous bone appeared normal. RESULTS: Biopsy of the intracranial mass revealed ACC of unknown origin which was judged to be unresectable. He underwent two cycles of intraarterial cytoreductive chemotherapy followed by a left medial maxillectomy with sphenoethmoidectomy, orbital exenteration, and chemoradiation. ACC tumor cells were identified in nerve fiber bundles surrounding and within the lacrimal gland. CONCLUSIONS: In patients presenting with an infiltrative mass in the cavernous sinus or orbital apex, metastatic disease from an occult lacrimal gland primary should be considered, even with a normal-appearing lacrimal gland.
ASJC Scopus subject areas