Lacrimal Sac Tumors

Lacrimal sac tumors are an abnormal mass of tissue growth arising in the lacrimal gland or tear sac. . They are fairly uncommon and can be benign or malignant. Benign tumors are noncancerous growths that do not spread to other parts of the body. Malignant tumors are rapidly growing cancerous growths that spread to other parts of the body, and can be dangerous if not treated promptly. Patients usually present with excessive tearing, bloody tears, bleeding from the nose, bulging of the eye, and/or a small firm mass in the lower inner corner of the orbit adjacent to the eye.

Lacrimal gland tumors can be of classified into 4 major types:

  • Benign mixed epithelial tumor: A tumor that develops in the cells lining the lacrimal sac,; is noncancerous, but continues to grow if left untreated.
  • Malignant mixed epithelial tumor: A tumor that develops in the cells lining the lacrimal sac; is cancerous, and can invade other parts of the body.
  • Lymphoma: This is a rapidly growing cancer (non-Hodgkin lymphoma) of the lymphatic system involving several structures of the eye, mainly the conjunctiva and lacrimal glands. It can be associated with the whole body or the central nervous system.
  • Adenoid cystic carcinoma (AdCC): A rare form of adenocarcinoma (malignant tumor arising from glandular tissues), where epithelial cells surround or invade the glandular structures, pushing the affected eye forward causing it to bulge (proptosis) and pain.