Distant cutaneous metastasis from oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma

June 4, 2012
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Squamous cell carcinoma is the most common malignant neoplasm of the upper aerodigestive tract. The disease is characterized by frequent lymphatic spread; however, blood-borne distant metastasis is rare. Isolated cutaneous metastasis is even rarer. We present two cases of oropharyngeal carcinoma that presented with cutaneous metastasis in the absence of disease recurrence. Both patients were treated with wide excision of the metastatic nodule and were disease-free at the 1.5-year follow-up. This article highlights the importance of cutaneous metastasectomy.


Approximately 95% of malignant head and neck tumors are squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) of the mucosal surfaces of the upper aerodigestive tract.1 Distant metastasis is rare but, when present, it commonly involves the lung, liver, and bone.2 Cutaneous metastasis is extremely rare and accounts for less than 10% of all distant metastatic lesions.3 Skin metastasis more often occurs with oral cavity cancers than with cancers at other head and neck sites.4

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CitationEar Nose Throat J. 2012 June;91(6):E19-E21