Secretory carcinoma of the sinonasal cavity and pharynx: A retrospective analysis of four cases and literature review

Ann Diagn Pathol. 2022 Dec:61:152052. doi: 10.1016/j.anndiagpath.2022.152052. Epub 2022 Oct 8.


Secretory carcinoma (SC) is a recently recognized type of salivary gland tumor characterized by t(12;15) (p13;q25) translocation resulting in an ETV6-NTRK3 gene fusion. Most SCs are located in a main salivary gland, and primary sinonasal secretary carcinoma is rare. We describe three cases of primary SC in the sinonasal cavity with high-grade transformation (HGT) in one case, and the first case in the pharynx. All tumors comprised slightly atypical cells with solid, tubular, microcystic growth patterns. The case with HGT included two components with distinct sharp boundaries and comedo necrosis, high mitotic figures and obvious cellular atypia. Tumor cells were positive for vimentin, S100, and Gata-3 and negative for p63 and DOG-1. Three cases showed nuclear staining of pan-TRK and one showed cytoplasmic staining. All cases harbored ETV6 gene rearrangement, and ETV6-NTRK3 gene fusion was detected in three cases. Most patients were treated with radical resection and adjuvant therapy. After excision, all remained tumor-free for 65-164 months (medium 98.5 months). SC in the sinonasal cavity and pharynx is a low-grade malignant tumor with histologic features overlapping those of other salivary gland tumors. Immunohistochemical analysis and fluorescence in situ hybridization are useful techniques for its differential diagnosis.

Keywords: ETV6-NTRK3; Fusion; High-grade transformation; Mammary analogue secretory carcinoma; Salivary gland.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Carcinoma* / diagnosis
  • Carcinoma* / genetics
  • Carcinoma* / pathology
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Mammary Analogue Secretory Carcinoma* / pathology
  • Oncogene Proteins, Fusion / genetics
  • Pharynx / chemistry
  • Pharynx / pathology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Salivary Gland Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Salivary Gland Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Salivary Gland Neoplasms* / pathology


  • Oncogene Proteins, Fusion
  • Biomarkers, Tumor

Supplementary concepts

  • Secretory breast carcinoma