Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology

: 2014  |  Volume : 18  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 143--145

Histopathological variants of oral squamous cell carcinoma-institutional case reports

Jigna Pathak, Niharika Swain, Shilpa Patel, LS Poonja 
 Department of Oral Pathology, Mahatma Gandhi Mission`s Dental College and Hospital, Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

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How to cite this article:
Pathak J, Swain N, Patel S, Poonja L S. Histopathological variants of oral squamous cell carcinoma-institutional case reports.J Oral Maxillofac Pathol 2014;18:143-145

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Pathak J, Swain N, Patel S, Poonja L S. Histopathological variants of oral squamous cell carcinoma-institutional case reports. J Oral Maxillofac Pathol [serial online] 2014 [cited 2021 Dec 8 ];18:143-145
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Squamous cell carcinoma is by far the most important and the most common malignant mucosal neoplasm of the head and neck accounting for over 90% of all malignancies. Conventional oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) can present as several variants that make up in aggregate about 10-15% of all squamous cell carcinomas (SCC). [1] These variants include verrucous carcinoma (VC), adenoid/acantholytic/pseudoglandular SCC (AdSCC), spindle cell/sarcomatoid carcinoma (SCSC), adenosquamous carcinoma (ASC), basaloid SCC (BSCC) and papillary SCC (PSCC). Each of these variants has a unique histomorphological appearance. This is a short treatise designed to give a brief overview of the different histopathological variants of OSCC observed in our institute, the separation of which helped in achieving appropriate clinical management.


A brief overview of the clinico-pathological appearance of variants of OSCC cases reported in the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology is presented in [Table 1].{Table 1}


Conventional SCC [Figure 1] and variants of OSCC frequently arise within the oral cavity. Precise histopathological diagnosis can help the clinician to plan accurate treatment, as the prognosis of each of them differs considerably.

VC [Figure 2] is a very well-differentiated SCC that does not metastasize and has an excellent prognosis with 5-year survival rate of approximately 75%. [2] The lesion has a possibility of metastasis only if it is left long enough and allowed to become more invasive. AdSCC [Figure 3] occurs in the oral cavity infrequently as they usually affect sun-exposed areas with vermillion border of the lip being the most commonly affected site. They have a relative poorer prognosis as compared with conventional SCC [Figure 1]. SCSC [Figure 4] metastasizes to the regional lymph nodes in upto 25% cases, but distant metastasis is less common (5-15%). The 5-year survival rate varies between 65-95%. [1],[3] ASC [Figure 5] has an aggressive behavior, poorer prognosis and a propensity for locoregional and distant metastasis, especially to the lungs. Larynx is most commonly affected (70%) followed by the oral cavity (30%). It shows approximately 2-year survival rate of approximately 55%. BSCC [Figure 6] is regarded as a high-grade tumor with an increased propensity for distant metastasis. It requires aggressive multimodality treatment. The 2-year survival rate is 40%. [4] PSCC more frequently affects the larynx. It has a better prognosis when compared with location and stage-matched conventional OSCC. [5] {Figure 1}{Figure 2}{Figure 3}{Figure 4}{Figure 5}{Figure 6}


Histopathological variants of OSCC may pose a diagnostic challenge especially the SCSC and ASC, which warrants the use of immunohistochemistry and special stains for an accurate diagnosis. The prognosis, metastatic potential, survival rate and treatment of each of the variants are diverse, thus mandating their distinction.


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