Larynx, hypopharynx & trachea

Squamous cell carcinoma

Spindle cell carcinoma

Topic Completed: 1 November 2013

Minor changes: 3 March 2021

Copyright: 2002-2021,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Spindle cell carcinoma [title] larynx

Nat Pernick, M.D.
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Cite this page: Pernick N. Spindle cell carcinoma. website. Accessed October 22nd, 2021.
Definition / general
  • Also called sarcomatoid carcinoma, carcinosarcoma
  • Uncommon in larynx; more common elsewhere in upper aerodigestive tract
  • 90% male; mean age 66 years, range 35 - 92 years
  • Associated with smoking (87%), alcohol (48%) and history of radiation therapy
  • 71% are glottic; 59% are T1
  • May recur locally (18%) or have distant metastases (14%); 18% die of disease
  • Nodal metastases may have epithelial or stromal patterns or both
Prognostic factors
  • Depth of invasion more important than differentiation of spindle component
  • Surgery with or without radiation; 45% recur
Gross description
  • Polypoid (99%) tumors, mean size 2 cm
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Squamous cell carcinoma with spindle cell component (reactive, sarcomatous or variant of squamous cell carcinoma) that is often storiform or pleomorphic, may contain foci of benign or malignant cartilage or bone
  • Frequent mitotic activity; often squamous cell carcinoma in situ
Positive stains
Negative stains
Differential diagnosis
  • Pure sarcoma
  • Reactive conditions
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