[Basaloid squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck]

Bull Cancer. 2009 Oct;96(10):989-1004. doi: 10.1684/bdc.2009.0954.
[Article in French]


Basaloid squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) are a rare variant of SCC of the head and neck. Their histological characteristics have been described by Wain in 1986 and are reported in the 2005 WHO classification. A poorer prognosis of BSCC has been reported. Two recent case-control studies have shown a higher rate of distant metastases (15-40%, mean over 30%). Conversely, BSCC have similar or better locoregional control rates, a relatively good radiosensitivity and locoregional control. The role of chemotherapy in the neoadjuvant, concomitant or adjuvant setting needs to be redefined due to high metastatic failure rates; chest CT or PET CT are recommended at baseline and every 6-month during follow-up. Some subgroups of BSCC (oropharynx in particular) are more likely to be associated with oncogenic human papilloma virus HPV16. The determination of BSCC head and neck subgroups by HPV status is critical for the prognosis. The basaloid sub-type of squamous cell carcinomas owing to its particular behavior, should be taken into account while deciding the optimal therapeutic strategy.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / therapy
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / virology
  • Combined Modality Therapy / methods
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / mortality
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / therapy
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / virology
  • Humans
  • Papillomavirus Infections / complications
  • Papillomavirus Vaccines / administration & dosage
  • Prognosis
  • Radiotherapy


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Papillomavirus Vaccines