Head and Neck Pathology

, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 320–326 | Cite as

Papillary Variant of Squamous Cell Carcinoma Arising on the Gingiva: 61 Cases Reported from Within a Larger Series of Gingival Squamous Cell Carcinoma

  • Sarah G. Fitzpatrick
  • Ashley N. Neuman
  • Donald M. Cohen
  • Indraneel BhattacharyyaEmail author
Original Paper


Papillary squamous cell carcinoma (PSCCA) is a rarely occurring variant of squamous cell carcinoma (SCCA) with distinctive exophytic and papillary features and a more favorable prognosis than conventional SCCA. The larynx is the most commonly affected site in the head and neck. The oral cavity, oropharynx, sinonasal tract, and nasopharynx are also affected. Within the oral cavity cases have been reported on the alveolar ridge, oral mucosa, floor of the mouth, ventral tongue, and rarely other areas. We identified 61 cases of gingival PSCCA within the parameters of a larger study of 519 cases of gingival SCCA. We evaluated the clinical and histologic features of these lesions. The average age of the PSCCA patient was 74 years, with a very slight male predominance of 1.2:1. The mandible was affected nearly twice as often (64 %, n = 39) as the maxilla (35 %, n = 21, and 1 % of cases unspecified), and the most common location by far was the mandibular posterior region (52 %, n = 32). Most lesions were reportedly present over 2 months in duration (48 %, n = 29) prior to biopsy but a significant amount of clinicians were unsure of the duration of the lesion as well (36 %, n = 22). Only 10 cases (16 %) were reportedly present less than 2 months. The most common clinical presentation was that of an erythematous or mixed white and red exophytic mass (74 %, n = 45). 62 % (n = 38) of submitting clinicians considered a malignant or premalignant lesion in their differential diagnosis, but other clinical impressions included papillomas, reactive gingival lesions, and fungal infections. Histologically, 88 % (n = 52 of 59 cases graded) of the lesions were either well or moderately-well differentiated. PSCCA is a rare subtype of SCCA which has been reported infrequently involving the gingiva or alveolar ridges but should be considered by clinicians for the differential diagnosis of papillary gingival masses.


Papillary squamous cell carcinoma Oral cavity Gingiva Alveolar ridge Head and neck 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarah G. Fitzpatrick
    • 1
  • Ashley N. Neuman
    • 2
  • Donald M. Cohen
    • 2
  • Indraneel Bhattacharyya
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Oral Pathology, School of Dental MedicineCase Western Reserve UniversityClevelandUSA
  2. 2.Division of Oral Pathology, Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Diagnostic Sciences, JHMHCUniversity of Florida College of DentistryGainesvilleUSA

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