Salivary glands

Primary salivary gland neoplasms


Squamous cell carcinoma

Last author update: 1 September 2012
Last staff update: 5 March 2021

Copyright: 2003-2023,, Inc.

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

Adriana Handra-Luca, M.D., Ph.D.
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Cite this page: Handra-Luca A. Squamous cell carcinoma. website. Accessed September 28th, 2023.
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)
Positive stains
Negative stains
Differential diagnosis
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