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Am J Otolaryngol. 2002 Mar-Apr;23(2):93-8.

Follicular dendritic cell tumor: an aggressive head and neck tumor.

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Division of Otolaryngology, Albany Medical College, Albany, NY, USA.



To characterize the clinicopathologic features of head and neck follicular dendritic cell (FDC) tumor and report the experience of this entity at our institution.


Two case presentations are compared with a retrospective analysis of all published head and neck cases.


A tertiary academic medical center.


Thirty four cases of FDC tumor of the head and neck cases have been published. Twenty five occurred in the cervical lymph nodes, 4 in the tonsils, 2 in the palate, 1 in the pharynx, 1 in the parapharyngeal region, and 1 in the thyroid gland. Patient ages ranged from 13 to 73 years (mean, 38), and there was a roughly equal number of men and women. Patients were treated with surgery (17), surgery and chemotherapy (8), and surgery and radiation (9). After the primary treatment, 12 patients had no evidence of disease, whereas 5 were incurable. Ten tumors recurred locally and 3 distally. Of these 13 patients who suffered recurrences, 4 had no evidence of disease after secondary treatment, 6 were alive with disease, and one was lost to follow up. Two patients died after recurrence. We add 2 unique cases to the 9 previously reported extranodal cases, 1 in the tonsil and 1 in the parotid gland.


FDC tumor is a rare malignant neoplasm that can present in the head and neck region in both lymph nodes and extranodal sites. Because of their rarity, these tumors are probably underrecognized by both clinicians and pathologists. Distinct light microscopic, immunohistochemical, and ultrastructural features do exist, however, and are reviewed. Surgery has been the mainstay of treatment and should include diligent control of surgical margins. The role of adjuvant therapy remains controversial. Although originally considered to be a low-grade malignancy, our review suggests both high recurrence rates and metastatic potential. We believe that FDC tumor should be viewed and treated as a moderately aggressive head and neck tumor.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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