Primary and metastatic high‐grade carcinomas of the salivary glands: A cytologic‐histologic correlation study of twenty cases

Michael W. Stanley, Ricardo H. Bardales, Charles E. Farmer, Henry F. Frierson, Mark Suhrland, Celeste N. Powers, Susan D. Rollins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


We reviewed the clinical and fine‐needle aspiration (FNA) findings in 20 patients with poorly differentiated carcinomas presenting initially as parotid or as submandibular masses. There were 11 primary tumors and nine metastatic malignancies in 14 males and six females ranging in age from 39 to 89 yr (median = 66). The tumor types included three primary carcinomas with oncocytic features, three additional cases of high‐grade parotid carcinoma, one case of primary neuroendocrine carcinoma, two examples of malignant mixed tumor, one high‐grade mucoepidermoid carcinoma, and a single example of malignant lymphoepithelial lesion. Six patients with metastatic carcinoma had previous diagnoses of malignancy. In the three remaining individuals, primary carcinomas of the lung (two cases), and an unknown primary site presented initially as parotid masses. Five examples of metastatic squamous cell carcinoma, one metastatic basal cell carcinoma, and two metastatic renal cell carcinomas were identified. One parotid lymphoepithelioma was interpreted cytologically as an atypical lymphoproliferative process suggestive of Hodgkin's disease. Nineteen cases (95%) were correctly classified as carcinoma at the time of FNA. High‐grade carcinomas aspirated from the parotid may be primary, but are frequently metastatic to either the gland, or to an intraparotid lymph node. Our experience indicates that some metastatic carcinomas present at this site, without a previous history of malignancy. Distinguishing primary from metastatic lesions has important therapeutic implications. © 1995 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-43
Number of pages7
JournalDiagnostic Cytopathology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1995


  • Carcinoma
  • Cytology
  • Fine‐needle aspiration
  • Malignancy
  • Metastases
  • Parotid
  • Salivary gland

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology


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