Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Cancer Health Center

Font Size

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]

Recommended Related to Leukemia & Lymphoma

B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia for Adults

B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia is a cancer that affects your "B lymphocytes" -- white blood cells that grow in the soft center of your bones, called marrow. B lymphocytes are supposed to grow into cells that help you fight infections. But in this disease, they turn into "leukemia" cells that live longer than normal cells and reproduce quickly. They build up in your bone marrow and move into your bloodstream. From there they can spread to other organs in your body. Although in most cases it...

Read the B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia for Adults article > >

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.


  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: 8/, 015
    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.
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    Colorectal cancer cells
    New! I AM Not Cancer Facebook Group
    Lung cancer xray
    See it in pictures, plus read the facts.
    sauteed cherry tomatoes
    Fight cancer one plate at a time.
    Ovarian cancer illustration
    Real Cancer Perspectives
    Jennifer Goodman Linn self-portrait
    what is your cancer risk
    colorectal cancer treatment advances
    breast cancer overview slideshow
    prostate cancer overview
    lung cancer overview slideshow
    ovarian cancer overview slideshow
    Actor Michael Douglas