Large cell neuroendocrine carcinoma of the parotid gland: case report and literature review

Auris Nasus Larynx. 2005 Mar;32(1):89-93. doi: 10.1016/j.anl.2004.11.016.


A 74-year-old male presented with a large polinodular mass in the neck. Fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) showed an undifferentiated large cell carcinoma. Computed tomography (CT) showed a large parotid mass with multiple satelite nodules. The remaining radiological studies were normal. Radical parotidectomy was performed. The tumor was a large cell carcinoma with neuroendocrine features and positive immunostain for neuroendocrine markers. The patient received postoperative radiotherapy and was free of tumor eight months later. Only four cases of large cell neuroendocrine carcinoma (LCNEC) of the salivary gland have been communicated. All of them have involved the parotid gland. This tumor presents in elderly patients as a large infiltrating parotid mass. Fine needle aspiration cytology serves to recognize the carcinoma, but it fails in recognizing the neuroendocrine features of the tumor. The histopathological features of this tumor are the same as in other organs. Chromogranin and synaptophysin are useful immunohistochemical markers. A primary location of the tumor in another organ, specially the lung, should be ruled out. Surgery is the main treatment modality and can be complemented with postoperative radiotherapy. The prognosis seems to be poor. More studies are needed to better define the therapeutical alternatives and prognostic factors of these rare tumors.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Carcinoma, Large Cell / diagnostic imaging
  • Carcinoma, Large Cell / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Large Cell / therapy
  • Carcinoma, Neuroendocrine / diagnostic imaging
  • Carcinoma, Neuroendocrine / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Neuroendocrine / therapy
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Parotid Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Parotid Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Parotid Neoplasms / therapy
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed