Larynx, hypopharynx & trachea

Squamous cell carcinoma

Papillary squamous cell carcinoma

Last author update: 1 November 2013
Last staff update: 30 June 2022

Copyright: 2002-2023,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Papillary squamous cell carcinoma

Nat Pernick, M.D.
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Cite this page: Pernick N. Papillary squamous cell carcinoma. website. Accessed September 26th, 2023.
Definition / general
  • Uncommon; exophytic growth pattern, features of carcinoma in situ plus foci of invasion
  • Mean age in 60s
  • Usually in larynx, oral cavity, oropharynx, hypopharynx and sinonasal tract
  • Associated with HPV
  • Relatively good prognosis; usually T2
  • Difficult to determine invasion in biopsy specimens, although should consider invasive if clinically appreciable exophytic mass plus marked atypia, even without definitive stromal invasion
  • Surgery
Gross description
  • Often solitary with exophytic or papillary growth; 2 mm to 4 cm
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Finger-like projections with fibrovascular cores or broad based bulbous growth with rounded projections and limited fibrovascular cores
  • Overlying squamous epithelium is malignant; usually no / limited surface keratinization
Differential diagnosis
  • Laryngeal papillomatosis:
    • Bland epithelial proliferation with no / minimal atypia
  • Verrucous carcinoma:
    • Minimal atypia
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