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Cytojournal. 2011;8:15. doi: 10.4103/1742-6413.84222. Epub 2011 Aug 24.

Salivary duct carcinoma with striking neutrophil-tumor cell cannibalism.

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Department of Pathology, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.


Cannibalism of neutrophils by tumor cells has previously been reported in certain carcinomas, lymphoma and melanoma. Tumor cannibalism is believed to serve as a tumor-immune escape mechanism, associated with high-grade aggressive cancers with a significantly increased metastatic potential. This interesting phenomenon has not been previously documented in association with salivary gland tumors. We report, for the first time, striking neutrophil-tumor cell cannibalism associated with a high grade, aggressive and metastatic salivary duct carcinoma of the parotid gland highlighted within cytological and surgical excision pathology specimens.


Cannibalism; duct carcinoma; neutrophils; phagocytosis; salivary gland

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