Necrotizing Sialometaplasia of the Hypopharynx

Ear Nose Throat J. 2019 Oct-Nov;98(9):NP138-NP141. doi: 10.1177/0145561319840826. Epub 2019 Apr 9.


Necrotizing sialometaplasia (NSM) is a benign, reactive metaplastic condition of the minor salivary gland tissue typically seen in the setting of injury, chemical or traumatic, and is nonneoplastic and self-limited. The diagnosis may be challenging as it may clinically mimic malignancy. We present the case of a 74-year-old male with a 1 pack per day smoking history for 60 years who presented with a reported 20-pound weight loss, dysphagia, and dysphonia progressing over the course of 6 months and found to have a 3.5-cm hypopharyngeal mass on computed tomography imaging and fiberoptic laryngoscopy. Initial frozen section of the mass was concerning for squamous cell carcinoma in situ, but permanent specimens returned as nondiagnostic. Repeat biopsy established a diagnosis of NSM. Two-month follow-up showed complete resolution of the mass. Clinicians should be aware that NSM may present in unusual locations when considering differential diagnoses for laryngeal masses and evaluating for malignancy.

Keywords: head and neck cancer; hypopharynx; malignancy; necrotizing sialometaplasia; salivary gland malignancy.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Humans
  • Hypopharynx / pathology
  • Male
  • Pharyngeal Diseases / pathology*
  • Sialometaplasia, Necrotizing / pathology*