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Authors Rohrbach MR, Britt CJ, Schwalbe M, Wieland AM, Hartig GK
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Journal J. Oral Maxillofac. Surg. Volume: 75 Issue: 3 Pages: 525-529
Publish Date 2017 Mar
PubMed ID 27663540

Metastatic cervical carcinoma of unknown primary (MCCUP) is increasing in frequency owing in part to rising human papillomavirus (HPV)-driven oropharyngeal carcinoma. Identifying the primary site is valuable, because it is associated with increased survival and decreased morbidity. HPV-positive cervical nodal disease focuses attention on the oropharynx for directed biopsy examinations, including tonsillectomy. When the primary is small, carcinoma might not be apparent by traditional hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) staining alone.This report describes 2 cases of p16-positive MCCUP in which a small primary carcinoma was not readily identified in surgical specimens using H&E staining.Additional evaluation of the specimens with p16 immunohistochemistry (IHC) showed carcinoma in these 2 cases.When H&E staining does not show carcinoma in cases of MCCUP, p16 IHC should be considered given the high prevalence of HPV-positive MCCUP and the potential for identification of a small primary tumor that might otherwise be missed with H&E staining. Copyright © 2017 The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System