Small Cell Neuroendocrine Carcinoma: A Rare Nasopharyngeal Malignancy with Aggressive Clinical Course

  • Nishu Bhardwaj
  • Aanchal Kakkar
  • David Victor Kumar Irugu
Clinical Report


Primary small cell neuroendocrine carcinoma is uncommon in head and neck region, with occasional cases in nasopharynx. Distinction from other round cell tumors is imperative to ensure optimal patient management. We present a case of a 30-year-old woman who presented with a rapidly growing nasopharyngeal mass.


Small cell carcinoma Nasopharynx Immunohistochemistry 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This article is a case report and does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from the patient included in the study.


  1. 1.
    Lin IH, Hwang CF, Huang HY (2007) Small cell carcinoma of the nasopharynx. Acta Otolaryngol 127:206–208CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Shunyu N, Lynrah Z, Goyal A, Raphal V (2012) Small-cell neuroendocrine carcinoma of nasopharynx. Clin Rhinol Int J 5:130–131CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Bellahammou K, Lakhdissi A, Akkar O, Kouhen F, Rais F, Dahraoui S, M’rabti H, Errihani H (2017) Small-cell neuroendocrine carcinoma of nasopharynx: a case report. IJSM 3:132–135Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Aguiar A, Jacome M, Azevedo I, Monteiro E, Castro V (2015) Small-Cell neuroendocrine carcinoma originating from the nasopharynx: report of a rare case. Rep Radiother Oncol 2:E3814Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Perez-Ordonez B, Bishop JA, Gnepp DR, Hunt JL, Thompson LDR (2017) Neuroendocrine tumours. In: El-Naggar AK, Chan JKC, Grandis JR, Takata T, Slootweg PJ (eds) WHO classification of head and neck tumours. IARC, Lyon, pp 95–98Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Mills SE (2002) Neuroectodermal neoplasms of the head and neck with emphasis on neuroendocrine carcinomas. Mod Pathol 15:264–278CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Deviprasad S, Rajeshwari A, Tahir M, Adarsha T, Gangadhara S (2008) Small cell neuroendocrine carcinoma originating from the lateral nasopharyngeal wall. Ear Nose Throat J 87:E1–E3PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Wenig BL, Gnepp DR (1989) The spectrum of neuroendocrine carcinomas of the larynx. Semin Diagn Pathol 6:329–350PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Subha S (2011) Neuroendocrine carcinoma of the nasopharynx: a case report. Med Health Sci 9:101–103CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Mineta H, Miura K, Takebayashi S (2001) Immunohistochemical analysis of small cell carcinoma of the head and neck: a report of 4 patients and a review of sixteen patients in the literature with ectopic hormone production. Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol 110:76–82CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Nandi M, Arun I, Bhattacharya A, Sen S, Ray S, Mallick I (2014) Reporting of a primary sinonasal neuroendocrine small cell carcinoma in the paediatric age group. Head Neck Oncol 6:5Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Chen C, Hsu M (2000) Second primary epithelial malignancy of nasopharynx and nasal cavity after successful curative radiation therapy of nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Hum Pathol 31:227–232CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Sturgis C, Burkey B, Momin S, Hoschar A (2015) High grade (large cell) neuroendocrine carcinoma of the nasopharynx: novel case report with touch preparation cytology and positive EBV encoded early RNA. Case Rep Pathol 2015.
  14. 14.
    Serrano MF, El-Mofty SK, Gnepp DR (2008) Utility of high molecular weight cytokeratins, but not p63, in the differential diagnosis of neuroendocrine and basaloid carcinomas of the head and neck. Hum Pathol 39:591–598CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Chapman-Fredricks J, Jorda M, Gomez Fernandez C (2009) A limited Immunohistochemical panel helps differentiate small cell epithelial malignancies of the sinonasal cavity and nasopharynx. Appl Immunohistochem Mol Morphol 17:207–210CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Lee LY, Chang KP, Hsu CL, Chen TC, Kuo TT (2011) Small-cell neuroendocrine carcinoma of the nasopharynx: report of a rare case lacking association with Epstein–Barr virus. Int J Surg Pathol 19:199–202CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Kakkar A, Antony VM, Irugu DVK, Adhikari N, Jain D (2017) NUT midline carcinoma: a series of five cases, including one with unusual clinical course. Head Neck Pathol. PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Takahashi S, Miyashita T, Hoshikawa H, Haba R, Togami T, Shibata T (2015) Accelerated hyperfractionated radiotherapy for small cell carcinoma of the nasopharynx. Head Neck 37:E63–E65CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Galera-Ruiz H, Villar-Rodriguez JL, Sanchez-Calzado JA (2001) Sinonasal neuroendocrine carcinoma presenting as a nasopharyngeal mass. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg 124:475–476CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Galanis E, Frytak S, Lloyd RV (1997) Extrapulmonary small cell carcinoma. Cancer 79(1729–3):6Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Pointer KB, Ko HC, Brower JV, Witek ME, Kimple RJ, Lloyd RV, Harari PM, Baschnagel AM (2017) Small cell carcinoma of the head and neck: an analysis of the National Cancer Database. Oral Oncol 69:92–98CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Mohebbi A, Daneshi A, Emami AR (2008) Nasopharyngeal neuroendocrine carcinoma: A case report. Ear Nose Throat J 87:E4Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Hatoum GF, Patton B, Takita C (2009) Small cell carcinoma of the head and neck: the university of Miami experience. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 74:477–481CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Azevedo D, Rios E, Vendeira L, Sarmento C (2017) Small cell neuroendocrine carcinoma of the nasopharynx: a rare case report. Autopsy Case Rep 7:31–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Association of Otolaryngologists of India 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nishu Bhardwaj
    • 1
  • Aanchal Kakkar
    • 1
  • David Victor Kumar Irugu
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PathologyAll India Institute of Medical SciencesNew DelhiIndia
  2. 2.Department of Otorhinolaryngology and Head and Neck SurgeryAll India Institute of Medical SciencesNew DelhiIndia

Personalised recommendations