Metastatic nasopharyngeal carcinoma initially presenting as cervical lymphadenopathy. A report of two cases that resembled Hodgkin's disease

Arch Pathol Lab Med. 1992 Aug;116(8):862-5.


We describe two patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma who initially presented with cervical lymphadenopathy. Lymph node biopsy specimens in each patient were initially diagnosed as Hodgkin's disease. In both cases, the neoplastic cells had large, vesicular nuclei with prominent eosinophilic nucleoli; some neoplastic cells were identified in lacunar spaces. In addition, numerous inflammatory cells were present, including eosinophils, lymphocytes, and plasma cells. At the time of referral, the correct diagnosis of metastatic carcinoma was made, and primary nasopharyngeal carcinomas were subsequently identified. The possibility of metastatic nasopharyngeal carcinoma should always be considered in adults with enlarged cervical lymph nodes that resemble Hodgkin's disease. The cytologic features of the malignant cells are the clue to the correct diagnosis. Immunophenotypic studies easily resolve this diagnostic dilemma if the possibility of metastatic nasopharyngeal carcinoma is considered.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biopsy
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Eosinophils / pathology
  • Female
  • Hodgkin Disease / diagnosis*
  • Hodgkin Disease / pathology
  • Humans
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Keratins / analysis
  • Lymph Nodes / pathology
  • Lymphatic Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Lymphatic Diseases / pathology
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Lymphocytes / pathology
  • Male
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / chemistry
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Uterine Cervical Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Uterine Cervical Diseases / pathology


  • Keratins