Blue arrow indicating the new gland | Photo Credit: https://www.nki.nl/
Researchers from the Netherlands Cancer Institute have discovered a new pair of salivary glands hidden between the nasal cavity and throat. They noticed the new gland while studying patients with prostate cancer using a new type of scan — a PSMA PET/CT scan
The scans of 100 patients and dissection studies on two cadavers were able to confirm the presence of this new gland.
The team proposed the name “tubarial glands” as it was found draped over the torus tubarius, the structure that supports the entrance of the auditory tube. The glands were about 3.9 centimeters in length on average.
“As far as we knew, the only salivary or mucous glands in the nasopharynx are microscopically small, and up to 1000 are evenly spread out throughout the mucosa. So, imagine our surprise when we found these,” Dr. Wouter V. Vogel from the Department of Nuclear Medicine at the Netherlands Cancer Institute said in a release.
The paper published by the team in Radiotherapy and Oncology noted that this identification “could help to explain and avoid radiation-induced side-effects” such as trouble during eating, swallowing, and speaking. The team analysed the data of 723 patients who had undergone radiation treatment and noted that there were more complications in patients who had more radiation delivered to these glands.
Scientists report previously-unrecognised anatomical structure in the human body
“For most patients, it should technically be possible to avoid delivering radiation to this newly discovered location of the salivary gland system in the same way we try to spare known glands,” Vogel concludes. “Our next step is to find out how we can best spare these new glands and in which patients. If we can do this, patients may experience less side effects which will benefit their overall quality of life after treatment.”
The paper adds that the classification of the tubarial glands was a matter of debate. It could be either a conglomerate of minor glands, a major gland, a separate organ, or a new part of an organ system.
As the glands have clinical relevance, they require a name that allows unique identification in daily clinical practice, writes the team.
You have reached your limit for free articles this month.
To get full access, please subscribe.
Already have an account ? Sign in
Start your 14 days free trial. Sign Up
We have been keeping you up-to-date with information on the developments in India and the world that have a bearing on our health and wellbeing, our lives and livelihoods, during these difficult times. To enable wide dissemination of news that is in public interest, we have increased the number of articles that can be read free, and extended free trial periods. However, we have a request for those who can afford to subscribe: please do. As we fight disinformation and misinformation, and keep apace with the happenings, we need to commit greater resources to news gathering operations. We promise to deliver quality journalism that stays away from vested interest and political propaganda.
Your support for our journalism is invaluable. It’s a support for truth and fairness in journalism. It has helped us keep apace with events and happenings.
The Hindu has always stood for journalism that is in the public interest. At this difficult time, it becomes even more important that we have access to information that has a bearing on our health and well-being, our lives, and livelihoods. As a subscriber, you are not only a beneficiary of our work but also its enabler.
We also reiterate here the promise that our team of reporters, copy editors, fact-checkers, designers, and photographers will deliver quality journalism that stays away from vested interest and political propaganda.
Please enter a valid email address.
Subscribe to The Hindu now and get unlimited access.