Oral cavity
Squamous cell carcinoma

Author: Nat Pernick, M.D. (see Authors page)

Revised: 25 April 2018, last major update November 2013

Copyright: (c) 2002-2018, PathologyOutlines.com, Inc.

PubMed Search: Tonsil[TI] squamous cell carcinoma[TI]

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Cite this page: Pernick, N. Squamous cell carcinoma - tonsil. PathologyOutlines.com website. http://www.pathologyoutlines.com/topic/oralcavityscctonsil.html. Accessed January 17th, 2019.
Definition / general
  • Common site of intraoral squamous cell carcinoma in U.S.
  • High rate of nodal metastases, usually to ipsilateral digastric, middle and lower jugular, posterior cervical triangle lymph nodes
  • Nodal metastases may be cystic and have bland histology
  • Tumors in patients under 40 years old are associated with HPV 16 DNA by PCR, with higher Ki67 and lower p53 staining score (Am J Surg Pathol 2003;27:1463)
Prognostic factors
  • Poor prognostic factors: age < 40 years, large size and nodal metastases
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Often undifferentiated and solid
  • HPV positive tumors tend to have nonkeratinizing basal cell morphology
Differential diagnosis