European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology

, Volume 269, Issue 1, pp 255–259

Bilateral synchronous tonsillar carcinoma: a case series and review of the literature


    • Colchester General Hospital
  • A. Qayyum
    • Royal Darwin Hospital
  • T. Price
    • Yeovil District Hospital
  • A. Sharma
    • Edinburgh Royal Infirmary
  • S. Mahendran
    • Ninewells Hospital
Head and Neck

DOI: 10.1007/s00405-011-1586-y

Cite this article as:
Moualed, D., Qayyum, A., Price, T. et al. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol (2012) 269: 255. doi:10.1007/s00405-011-1586-y


We present the first dedicated case series of bilateral synchronous tonsillar carcinoma and discuss the role of bilateral tonsillectomy as a diagnostic tool. The occurrence of multiple head and neck tumours is well recognised; however, reports of bilateral synchronous tonsillar carcinoma are rare. A literature review reveals only 12 cases of bilateral synchronous tonsillar carcinoma described in the international literature in the past 15 years. We present a further three cases confirmed following bilateral tonsillectomy. In conclusion, bilateral tonsillectomy has in many centres been established as a standard diagnostic and therapeutic procedure for patients who have cervical metastases from a head and neck cancer of unknown primary site. It is likely the true incidence of bilateral synchronous tonsillar carcinoma is underestimated and under-reported. We recommend bilateral tonsillectomy for patients with suspected or proven unilateral tonsillar carcinoma as well as those with cervical metastases from unknown primary site.


SynchronousTonsillar carcinomaBilateralTonsillectomy

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© Springer-Verlag 2011