Background: Our objective was to evaluate the outcome of patients treated for squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the parotid gland.
Methods: We conducted a retrospective chart review of the tumor registry from 1982 through 2003 at a tertiary referral medical center. Patients with SCC of the parotid gland were identified and followed for a minimum of 2 years after therapy.
Results: SCC involving the parotid was identified in 66 patients. The tumor was a metastasis from a known primary site in 41 patients (62%). In 16 patients (24%), no other primary site was identified, and the tumor may have originated in the parotid gland. Nine patients (14%) were undetermined. Therapy frequently included surgery. The integrity of the facial nerve was preserved in 92% of surgical patients. Only eight patients initially had clinical evidence of cervical metastasis; however, cervical metastasis was identified in 25 patients (44%), changing the course of therapy.
Conclusion: SCC of the parotid gland was metastatic from a known primary tumor in more than half of the patients. The most common site of the primary tumor was a cutaneous malignancy of the head and neck. The high incidence of cervical lymph node involvement underscores the diagnostic and therapeutic importance of neck dissection with parotidectomy.
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