Salivary glands
Epithelial / myoepithelial tumors
Squamous cell carcinoma

Author: Adriana Handra-Luca, M.D. (see Authors page)

Revised: 20 March 2018, last major update September 2012

Copyright: (c) 2003-2018,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Squamous cell carcinoma[TI] salivary[TI]

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Cite this page: Handra-Luca, A. Squamous cell carcinoma. website. Accessed January 23rd, 2019.
Definition / general
  • True salivary gland primaries of squamous cell carcinoma are very rare; most squamous cell carcinomas are metastases to intraparotid lymph nodes from primaries in oral cavity, upper aerodigestive tract or skin
  • Squamous cell carcinomas represent 16 - 54% of malignant salivary gland tumors, about 11% of malignant tumors of major salivary glands
Clinical features
  • Squamous cell carcinomas (primary or secondary) are most frequent parotid malignant tumor (30 - 37%), represent 4% of submandibular gland tumors
  • Usually men (when considering major salivary gland tumors); also associated with AIDS
  • May occur in Stensen duct
  • Rapid painless growth with infiltration of surrounding structures, regardless of origin; may cause acute facial paralysis
  • Aggressive behavior, with 50% 5 year survival (Arch Pathol Lab Med 2001;125:740)
  • Radical surgery, radiation therapy
Gross description
  • Large, poorly encapsulated mass
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Classic features of squamous cell carcinoma
  • May have perineural invasion, clear cell change
  • Often component or coexisting with other tumors: carcinosarcoma, epidermoid cyst, epithelial myoepithelial carcinoma, malignant mixed tumor, mucoepidermoid carcinoma, sarcomatoid carcinoma, salivary duct carcinoma, sebaceous lymphadenoma, Warthin tumor (Mod Pathol 2002;15:724)
Microscopic (histologic) images

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Positive stains
Negative stains
Differential diagnosis