Salivary glands
Epithelial / myoepithelial tumors
Small cell carcinoma

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

Revised: 20 March 2018, last major update September 2012

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

PubMed Search: Small cell carcinoma[TIAB] salivary

Cite this page: Handra-Luca, A. Small cell carcinoma. PathologyOutlines.com website. http://www.pathologyoutlines.com/topic/salivaryglandssmallcell.html. Accessed July 17th, 2018.
Definition / general
Clinical features
  • 2% of parotid gland carcinomas, 4% of minor salivary gland malignancies
  • Usually age 50+ but also < 30 years
  • Either neuroendocrine (Merkel cell or pulmonary varieties) or ductal types (arising from ductal neuroendocrine stem cells, Pathol Int 1999;49:887)
  • 2 and 5 year survival of 70% and 46%
Case reports
Treatment
  • Chemotherapy, radiotherapy
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Resembles lung tumors with solid areas of small spindled to ovoid cells with minimal cytoplasm, hyperchromatic nuclei with fine chromatin, indistinct nuclei
  • High mitotic activity, geographic necrosis
  • Often a better differentiated carcinoma is present
  • Rarely squamous or ductal differentiation
  • Does not arise from surface epithelium but may involve it secondarily
  • May occur in carcinoma ex pleomorphic adenoma
Microscopic (histologic) images

Images hosted on other servers:

87 year old woman with longterm survival

Positive stains
Negative stains
Electron microscopy description
  • Variable dense core secretory granules
Differential diagnosis