Follicular lymphoid hyperplasia of the hard palate simulating lymphoma

Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1980 Jul-Aug;88(4):349-56. doi: 10.1177/019459988008800406.


Follicular lymphoid hyperplasia of the hard palate is a slowly growing, soft, nontender swelling that may grow to involve the entire hard palate. The overlying mucosa is normal. This appearance naturally prompts biopsy, and both clinically and microscopically might be confused with lymphoma. Four case histories are presented with histologic description: normal palatal submucosal structures are replaced with benign reactive lymphoid tissue replete with well-developed germinal centers. Surrounding these centers are dense populations of small, regular, bland lymphocytes. Minor salivary glands, except for some atrophied residue, are notably absent; also absent are the epimyoepithelial islands characteristic of the benign lymphoepithelial lesion (Mikulicz's disease). Etiologic factors remain obscure. One of our patients had two recurrences following local excision; in another patient nodules of benign lymphoid hyperplasia developed in the cheek and upper neck. These four patients are alive and free of any malignant process 4, 7, 9, and 12 years after the onset of their palatal swellings. We urge caution in distinguishing these lesions from palatal lymphoma, and recommend local excision as the treatment of choice.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperplasia
  • Lymphatic Diseases / diagnosis
  • Lymphatic Diseases / surgery
  • Lymphoid Tissue / pathology*
  • Lymphoma / diagnosis*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Palatal Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Recurrence