Squamous cell carcinoma in the immunosuppressed patient: Fanconi's anemia

Laryngoscope. 1985 Jul;95(7 Pt 1):771-5.


The association of immunosuppression and head and neck cancer is supported by numerous reports demonstrating impaired cell-mediated immunity, depressed T-cell function, decreased lymphocyte responsiveness, and elevated circulating immune complexes. Fanconi's anemia (FA) is a rare autosomal recessive syndrome characterized by progressive pancytopenia, skeletal abnormalities, hyperpigmentation, and other congenital anomalies. Increased chromosomal instability and defective DNA repair have been uniform findings. Several reports suggest associated immune deficiencies. There is an increased frequency of leukemia, hepatocellular carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), including six cases of head and neck SCC. We reported a young girl with FA who developed SCC of the tongue. Initial studies suggest low lymphocyte counts, but normal lymphocyte responsiveness. More precise characterization of the immune system defects in malignancy prone, genetically determined syndromes may provide clues for the diagnosis and treatment of patients with the more usual but more variable risk factors for SCC of the head and neck.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anemia, Aplastic / complications*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / immunology*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / surgery
  • Chromosome Aberrations / immunology
  • Chromosome Disorders
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Fanconi Anemia / complications*
  • Fanconi Anemia / immunology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppression Therapy*
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Tongue Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Tongue Neoplasms / surgery