Clear cell chondrosarcoma of the head and neck

Head Neck Oncol. 2012 Apr 20:4:13. doi: 10.1186/1758-3284-4-13.


Clear cell chondrosarcoma is a rare variant of chondrosarcoma that mostly involves the end of long bones. However, nine cases have been reported in the head and neck: four in larynx, two in nasal septum, two in maxilla and one in the skull. These cases form the basis of this review. Head and neck cases accounts for less than 5% of Clear cell chondrosarcomas in the whole body and the larynx is the most common place. The histological findings of head and neck cases are consistent with general features of this entity in the whole body and nearly all tumors in this case series had a component of conventional chondrosarcoma. Clear cell chondrosarcoma is an intracompartmental tumor and retains "Grenz zone" just beneath the epithelium. Therefore, the overlying mucosa remained intact in all laryngeal cases. Nasal tumor caused ballooning of the septum and the maxillary lesion did not involve the oral mucosa. This tumor presents various radiographic features in the head and neck area. Chondroblastoma, chondroma, osteoblastoma, osteosarcoma and metastatic renal cell carcinoma are included in the histologic differential diagnoses. Differentiation from chondroblastic osteosarcoma is important in the maxilla. A wide resection is adequate in most cases. However, some laryngeal cases show tendency to recur. Clear cell chondrosarcoma is a slow growing tumor and this necessitates a long time follow-up of patients. Due to the extreme rarity in the head and neck, diagnosis of Clear cell chondrosarcoma in this area, must be confirmed by histochemical and immunohistochemical studies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Chondrosarcoma / pathology*
  • Chondrosarcoma / surgery
  • Chondrosarcoma / therapy
  • Female
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / surgery
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / therapy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sarcoma, Clear Cell / pathology*
  • Sarcoma, Clear Cell / surgery
  • Sarcoma, Clear Cell / therapy