Oral cavity & oropharynx

Oropharynx squamous cell carcinoma

Tonsillar squamous cell carcinoma



Topic Completed: 1 November 2013

Minor changes: 27 October 2020

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

Nat Pernick, M.D.
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Cite this page: Pernick N Tonsillar squamous cell carcinoma. PathologyOutlines.com website. https://www.pathologyoutlines.com/topic/oralcavityscctonsil.html. Accessed January 21st, 2022.
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
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