Cystic lymph node metastases of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma: Pitfalls and controversies

Centre Oscar Lambret, Lille, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France
Oral Oncology (Impact Factor: 3.61). 05/2005; 41(4):429-34. DOI: 10.1016/j.oraloncology.2004.09.016
Source: PubMed


Lymph node metastases of squamous cell carcinomas in the neck can appear cystic. Without a clinically apparent primary tumour they can classically be considered to originate in a branchial cleft. We report two cases of cystic squamous cell carcinoma with histopathologic criteria of branchial cleft carcinoma. After a review of the literature, diagnostic strategies, histopathologic features, and therapeutic options for this very controversial clinical situation are discussed. We conclude by suggesting that Martin's criteria, largely used to differentiate between a cystic metastasis of a squamous cell carcinoma and a very theoretical branchial cleft carcinoma should be abandoned for lack of applicability.

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    • "In terms of malignant lesions, squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of Waldeyer's ring (e.g., palatine and lingual tonsils) and papillary thyroid cancers have a predilection for cystic lymph node metastases [2] [8] [9]. However, the exact mechanism for the development of cystic lymph node metastases is unclear. "
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