Journal of Maxillofacial and Oral Surgery

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 152–157 | Cite as

Supraclavicular Metastases from Distant Primary Solid Tumours: A Retrospective Study of 41 Years

  • Keyvan SaghebEmail author
  • Asina Manz
  • Stefan B. Albrich
  • Katherine J. Taylor
  • Georg Hess
  • Christian Walter
Research Paper



Approximately 1 % of all malignant solid tumours of the head and neck area are metastases from primary tumours beneath the clavicles. The aim of this study was to analyse the distribution of primary tumours since meta-analyses might have been biased due to the usually extraordinary character of case reports.

Materials and Methods

All patient files from 1970 to 2012 from the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery unit at a University Hospital were analysed regarding the existence of metastases to the head and neck area from distant primaries.


Of the seventy-three patients 18 had breast cancers (25 %), 9 melanomas (12 %), 8 tumours of the kidneys and 8 of the lungs (each 12 %), 3 colon cancers (6 %), 2 prostate cancers (3 %), 2 Ewing sarcomas (3 %), and 1 each of liposarcoma, esophagus, rectum, hepatocellular carcinoma, vulva, ovarian and testicular cancer. In 15 cases, a cancer of unknown primary was diagnosed. In 28 cases the metastasis was the initial sign of the malignant disease. Skeletal metastasis occurred in 37 cases and a soft tissue metastasis in 36 patients.


The different primaries seem to metastasize in different frequencies to the head and neck area. The relatively common prostate cancer rarely seems to produce metastases in the head and neck area compared to cancers arising in the kidneys. In case of a malignant tumour of unknown primary, osseous metastases most often are caused by breast or lung cancer or renal cell carcinoma. Soft tissue metastases are most often caused by breast cancer.


Metastasis Head and neck Tumour Cancer 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they do not have any conflict of interest.

Ethics Statement

A retrospective study was performed without any further consequences for the patient. According to this and the hospital laws of the individual states (Krankenhauslandesgesetz) no approval by the local ethics committee is necessary. The study was not sponsored.


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Copyright information

© The Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons of India 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Keyvan Sagheb
    • 1
    Email author
  • Asina Manz
    • 1
  • Stefan B. Albrich
    • 2
  • Katherine J. Taylor
    • 3
    • 4
  • Georg Hess
    • 5
  • Christian Walter
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery – Plastic SurgeryUniversity Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg-University MainzMainzGermany
  2. 2.Department of Obstetrics and GynecologyUniversity Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg-University MainzMainzGermany
  3. 3.Institute for Medical Biostatistics, Epidemiology and InformaticsUniversity Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg-University MainzMainzGermany
  4. 4.German Cancer Research CenterHeidelbergGermany
  5. 5.Department of Hematology, Oncology, and PneumologyUniversity Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg-University MainzMainzGermany

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