Survival after parotid gland metastases of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck

Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2021 Sep;25(3):383-388. doi: 10.1007/s10006-020-00934-8. Epub 2021 Jan 5.


Purpose: Malignant tumours in the parotid gland can originate either from the gland itself or as a result of metastatic spread of other tumours, such as cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas (CSCC) of the head and neck area. The aim of this study was to analyse and compare the clinical behaviour of primary as well as CSCC metastatic parotid cancers with special emphasis on therapy and oncologic outcome.

Methods: Clinical and histopathological data of 342 patients with parotid gland malignomas surgically treated in a tertiary referral centre between 1987 and 2015 were retrospectively assessed. Oncologic outcomes of all cases with CSCC metastasis of the parotid gland (n = 49) were compared to those of primary parotid gland carcinomas (n = 293).

Results: Mean age at diagnosis was 72.3 years for CSCC patients versus 56.8 years in patients with primary parotid carcinoma. A total of 83.7% of CSCC patients were male, compared to 48.8% in the group of primary carcinomas. Forty-five out of 49 CSCC patients underwent total parotidectomy and neck dissection (91.8%). A total of 93.9% out of all CSCC patients received adjuvant radiotherapy. Five-year overall survival (OS) was 32.6% in CSCC patients versus 77.2% in primary parotid carcinoma patients.

Conclusion: As compared to primary parotid cancers, we could show that patients suffering from CSCC metastases to the parotid gland presented with significantly higher age and worse survival.

Keywords: Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma; Parotid; Salivary gland carcinoma; Skin; Survival; Therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell* / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell* / surgery
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Parotid Gland / pathology
  • Parotid Gland / surgery
  • Parotid Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Skin Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma of Head and Neck