Head and Neck Pathology

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 118–122 | Cite as

Sebaceous Differentiation in Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Larynx and Adjacent Pharynx: Case Report with Review and Discussion of the Literature

  • Antonio CardesaEmail author
  • Alfons Nadal
  • Llucia Alos
  • Josep Lloreta-Trull
  • Alfio Ferlito
Original Paper


Among the variants of squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the head and neck arising in mucosal surfaces, examples with sebaceous differentiation are exceedingly rare. We present a new case of SCC with sebaceous differentiation, developing in the larynx of a 64 year-old male, cigarette smoker and alcohol drinker. The tumor extended transglottically, metastasized to cervical lymph nodes, and killed the patient after 12 months. Comparing this case with four previously reported cases of SCC with sebaceous differentiation, two arising in the larynx and the other two in the adjacent pharynx, all five patients mostly shared the following features: appearance of the tumor in the seventh decade of life, heavy tobacco smoking, alcohol intake in three, surgery as mainstay treatment, tumor size between 2 and 4.7 cm, and regional lymph node metastases in four of them. Out of the four patients with a follow up of 12 months, two died of disease, one was alive with disease, and only one was alive without disease. One patient was lost for follow up. In conclusion, mucosal SCC with sebaceous differentiation is a very rare variant of SCC that when arising in the larynx and anatomically adjacent parts of the pharynx behaves aggressively and bears a dismal prognosis. The recognition of new cases of this entity requires special awareness of its phenotypic features and may be important for further assessment of its behavior.


Larynx and adjacent pharynx Squamous cell carcinoma variants Sebaceous differentiation Prognosis 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

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

Research Involving Human or Animal Participants

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


  1. 1.
    Rulon DB, Helwig EB. Cutaneous sebaceous neoplasms. Cancer. 1974;33:82–102.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Font RL, Croxatto JO, Rao NA. Atlas of tumor pathology. Tumors of the eye and ocular adnexa, 4th series, fascile 5. Washington, D.C.: Armed Forces Institute of Pathology; 2006. p. 15, 33, 183–191.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Ellis GL, Auclair PL. Atlas of tumor pathology. Tumors of the salivary glands, 4th series, fascicle 9. Washington, D.C.: Armed Forces Institute of Pathology; 2008. p. 377–380.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Gnepp DR. Sebaceous carcinoma. In: Barnes L, Eveson JW, Reichart P, Sidransky D, editors. WHO classification of head neck tumors. Lyon: IARC Press; 2005. p. 231.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Gnepp DR, Assaad A, Ro JY. Sebaceous adenocarcinoma. In: El-Naggar AK, Chan JKC, Grandis JR, Takata T, Slootweg PJ, editors. WHO classification of head neck tumors. Lyon: IARC Press; 2017. p. 178–179.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Alawi F, Siddiqui A. Sebaceous carcinoma of the oral mucosa: case report and review of the literature. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol Endod. 2005;99:79–84.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Wang H, Yao J, Solomon M, Axiotis CA. Sebaceous carcinoma of the oral cavity: case report and review of the literature. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol Endod. 2010;110:e37–e40.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Rowe ME, Khorsandi AS, Urken GR, Wenig BM. Intraoral sebaceous carcinoma metastatic to the lung and subcutis: case report and discussion of the literature. Head Neck. 2016;38:E20–E24.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Assor D. Epidermoid carcinoma with sebacous differentiation in the vallecula. Am J Clin Pathol. 1975;63:891–4.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Martinez-Madrigal F, Casiraghi O, Khapiech A, Nasr-Khapiech RB, Richard J-M, Micheau Ch. Hypopharyngeal sebaceous carcinoma. Human Pathol. 1991;22:929–931.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Baiocco R, Palma O, Locatelli G. Squamous carcinoma of the epiglottis with sebaceous differentiation. Pathologica. 1995;87:531–3.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Panayiotides JG, Arapantoni-Dadioti P, Banis CG. Laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma with sebaceous differentiation. J Laryngol Otol. 1995;109:784–6.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Bambirra EA, de Souza Andrade J, Hooper de Souza LA, Savi A, Ferreira Lima G, de Oliveira CA. Sebaceous glands in the esophagous. Gastrointest Endosc. 1983;29:251–2.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Miyamoto K, Yamagawa T, Azuma M, et al. Establishment of a transformed human epithelial cell line with a sebaceous phenotype and effect of epidermal growth factor and dibutyryl cyclic adenosine 3′-5′ monophosphate on the cellular phenotype. Cancer J. 1989;3:414–22.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Hellquist H, Skalova A. Sebaceous carcinoma and sebaceous lymphadenocarcinoma. In: Hellquist H, Skalova A, editors. Histopathology of the salivary glands. Berlin: Springer; 2014. p. 407–409.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Ostler DA, Prieto VG, Reed JA, Deavers MT, Lazar AJ, Ivan D. Adipophilin expression in sebaceous tumors and other cutaneous lesions with clear cell histology: an immunohistochemical study of 117 cases. Mod Pathol. 2010;23:567–73.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Ko CJ. Muir–Torre syndrome: facts and controversies. Clin Dermatol. 2010;28:324–9.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Antonio Cardesa
    • 1
    Email author
  • Alfons Nadal
    • 1
  • Llucia Alos
    • 1
  • Josep Lloreta-Trull
    • 2
  • Alfio Ferlito
    • 3
  1. 1.Department Anatomia Patológica, Hospital ClínicUniversity of BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  2. 2.Servei Anatomia Patologica, Hospital del MarDCEXS-University Pompeu FabraBarcelonaSpain
  3. 3.Coordinator of the International Head and Neck Scientific GroupPaduaItaly

Personalised recommendations