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Hypopharyngeal Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Cellular Classification of Hypopharyngeal Cancer

Almost all hypopharyngeal cancers are epithelial in origin, predominantly squamous cell (i.e., epidermoid) carcinomas (SCCs), and may be preceded by various precancerous lesions.[1,2] Rare types of hypopharyngeal carcinomas include the following:

  • Basaloid squamoid carcinomas.
  • Spindle-cell (i.e., sarcomatoid) carcinomas.
  • Small-cell carcinomas.
  • Nasopharyngeal-type undifferentiated carcinomas (i.e., lymphoepitheliomas).
  • Carcinomas of the minor salivary glands.

Nonepithelial tumors, including lymphomas, sarcomas, and melanomas, require separate consideration and are not included in the staging and treatment options discussed in this summary.[1,3,4,5,6,7,8]

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Invasive SCCs are usually moderately differentiated or poorly differentiated and invariably stain positively for keratin.[1]In situ carcinoma is often seen adjacent to invasive SCC.[1,9]

The term, leukoplakia, should be used only as a clinically descriptive term meaning that the observer sees a white patch that does not rub off, the significance of which depends on the histologic findings.[10] Based on this description, leukoplakia can range from hyperkeratosis to an actual early invasive carcinoma or may represent only a fungal infection, lichen planus, or other benign oral disease.

References:

  1. Oral cavity and oropharynx. In: Rosai J, ed.: Ackerman's Surgical Pathology. 8th ed. St. Louis, Mo: Mosby, 1996, pp 223-55.
  2. Mendenhall WM, Werning JW, Pfister DG: Treatment of head and neck cancer. In: DeVita VT Jr, Lawrence TS, Rosenberg SA: Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2011, pp 729-80.
  3. Ibrahim NB, Briggs JC, Corbishley CM: Extrapulmonary oat cell carcinoma. Cancer 54 (8): 1645-61, 1984.
  4. Stanley RJ, Weiland LH, DeSanto LW, et al.: Lymphoepithelioma (undifferentiated carcinoma) of the laryngohypopharynx. Laryngoscope 95 (9 Pt 1): 1077-81, 1985.
  5. McKay MJ, Bilous AM: Basaloid-squamous carcinoma of the hypopharynx. Cancer 63 (12): 2528-31, 1989.
  6. Frank DK, Cheron F, Cho H, et al.: Nonnasopharyngeal lymphoepitheliomas (undifferentiated carcinomas) of the upper aerodigestive tract. Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol 104 (4 Pt 1): 305-10, 1995.
  7. Olsen KD, Lewis JE, Suman VJ: Spindle cell carcinoma of the larynx and hypopharynx. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 116 (1): 47-52, 1997.
  8. Lengyel E, Gilde K, Remenár E, et al.: Malignant mucosal melanoma of the head and neck. Pathol Oncol Res 9 (1): 7-12, 2003.
  9. Helliwell TR: acp Best Practice No 169. Evidence based pathology: squamous carcinoma of the hypopharynx. J Clin Pathol 56 (2): 81-5, 2003.
  10. Neville BW, Day TA: Oral cancer and precancerous lesions. CA Cancer J Clin 52 (4): 195-215, 2002 Jul-Aug.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

    Last Updated: September 04, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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