Scientific article

Atypical squamous cell carcinoma of the larynx and hypopharynx: radiologic features and pathologic correlation

Published inEuropean radiology, vol. 8, no. 9, p. 1541-1551
Publication date1998

The objective of this study was to analyze the radiologic features of atypical forms of squamous cell cancer and correlate them with clinical, endoscopic, and histopathologic findings. The CT and MRI images of 31 patients with atypical forms of squamous cell carcinoma were reviewed retrospectively and the radiologic findings were correlated with clinical, endoscopic, and histopathologic findings. Histopathologic diagnoses included undifferentiated carcinoma of nasopharyngeal type (n = 8), verrucous carcinoma (n = 18), spindle cell carcinoma (n = 3), and basaloid cell carcinoma (n = 2). Undifferentiated carcinoma of nasopharyngeal type was located in the supraglottis or piriform sinus beneath an intact mucosa and initial endoscopic biopsy was most often negative. The discrepancy between an intact mucosa at endoscopy and a solid mass with homogenous enhancement at CT or MRI was characteristic for these tumors and warranted further investigations to obtain the definitive histologic diagnosis. Verrucous carcinoma displayed characteristic clinical, radiologic, and pathologic features, namely, an exophytic tumor arising from the glottic level displaying a rugged surface with finger-like projections but with only minor submucosal infiltration. Spindle cell carcinoma appeared as a polypoid mass with a thin stalk arising from the supraglottis. Basaloid cell carcinoma displayed a distinct lobulated enhancement pattern which was observed on contrast-enhanced T1-weighted SE images. Although the MR and CT features of atypical forms of squamous cell carcinoma cannot be considered pathognomonic they should raise the differential diagnosis even if endoscopic biopsy has been negative. The radiologist's awareness of the appearance of these unusual tumors on CT and MR images may greatly facilitate the diagnostic work-up and helps to guide the endoscopist to the adequate biopsy site in order to establish the correct diagnosis.

  • Aged
  • Biopsy
  • Carcinoma/diagnosis/pathology/radiography
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell/diagnosis/pathology/radiography
  • Carcinoma, Transitional Cell/diagnosis/pathology/radiography
  • Carcinoma, Verrucous/diagnosis/pathology/radiography
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Endoscopy
  • Female
  • Glottis/pathology/radiography
  • Humans
  • Hypopharyngeal Neoplasms/diagnosis/pathology/radiography
  • Image Enhancement
  • Laryngeal Mucosa/pathology/radiography
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms/diagnosis/pathology/radiography
  • Laryngoscopy
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mucous Membrane/pathology/radiography
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms/diagnosis/pathology/radiography
  • Polyps/diagnosis/pathology/radiography
  • Radiographic Image Enhancement
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
Citation (ISO format)
BECKER, Minerva et al. Atypical squamous cell carcinoma of the larynx and hypopharynx: radiologic features and pathologic correlation. In: European radiology, 1998, vol. 8, n° 9, p. 1541–1551. doi: 10.1007/s003300050584
Main files (1)
Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal0938-7994

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