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Synovial sarcoma of the head and neck: A review of its diagnosis and management and a report of a rare case of orbital involvement

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June 1, 2010
by Shashidhar Kusuma, MD, David J. Skarupa, MD, Kim A. Ely, MD, Anthony J. Cmelak, MD, and Brian B. Burkey, MD


Synovial sarcoma is typically an aggressive malignant tumor of the soft tissues, usually in the extremities, that affects young adults. Tumors of the head and neck are rare. Reported head and neck sites have included the hypopharynx (the most common site), the oropharynx, the larynx, and the soft tissues of the neck; only 4 cases of orbital involvement have been previously reported. We describe a case of synovial sarcoma of the medial canthus, which we discovered during a review of a tumor registry. The patient, an 18-year-old woman, underwent conservative excision and postoperative radiation therapy. Long-term follow-up detected no evidence of recurrence. Because there is no established, consistent approach to the treatment of synovial sarcoma of the head and neck, we also present a consensus management plan based on our review of the literature.

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