Clinico – Pathological Correlation Of Neck Lesions – A Study Of 103 Cases
V Popat, D Vora, H Shah
benign lesions, clinical presentation, histopathological diagnosis, malignant lesions., neck swelling
V Popat, D Vora, H Shah. Clinico – Pathological Correlation Of Neck Lesions – A Study Of 103 Cases. The Internet Journal of Head and Neck Surgery. 2009 Volume 4 Number 2.
Neck lesions are responsible for a significant cause of mortality and morbidity in India. Various benign and malignant lesions are found in the neck region involving thyroid, salivary glands, lymph nodes, upper aero-digestive tract (throat), skin, soft tissues, etc. Goiter, Koch’s and other chronic inflammations, pleomorphic adenoma, various cysts and swellings of skin and subcutaneous tissues comprise the common benign and inflammatory regions of the neck region. Nutritional deficiencies, dietary goitrogens, viral and bacterial infections, autoimmune condition etc are to be responsible for this variety of lesions (1, 2, 3). In the neck region, malignant lesions can present as primary as well as metastasis from various organs of the body. Neoplasms of neck region are a major form of cancer in India, accounting for 23% of all cancer in males and 6% in females (4). The five-year survival varies from 20-90% depending upon the sub-site of origin and the clinical extent of disease. The majority of this neoplasia is preventable. Tobacco and alcohol play an important role in their etio-pathogenesis. The per capita consumption of cigarettes has increased by 2% over the last decade in the country. Estimates of the number of persons developing the disease annually attributable to tobacco in the mid-eighties included 1,08,000 annual incident biopsies of cancer.(5) Recently in last decade sudden rise in mouth and throat cancer is related with new trend in tobacco chewing in the form of gutkha. India has the dubious distinction of having the world's highest reported incidence of neck neoplasms in women.(6) The disproportionately higher prevalence of malignancies of neck region in relation to other malignancies in India may be due to the use of tobacco in various forms, consumption of alcohol and low socioeconomic condition related to poor hygiene, poor diet or infections of viral origin.(7) The risk increases in proportion to the intensity and duration of the exposure to each carcinogen. Yet, individual susceptibilities to these risk factors vary within the general population. The basis for this susceptibility may be inborn or acquired, which is still under investigation. The spectrum of neck malignancies varies from place to place within the country. Site-specific data from different parts of the country provide the various trends and give clues to the etiological factors responsible for this significant variation.
Aims and Objectives
Clinico – pathological correlation of Neck lesions in Saurashtra region, Gujarat.
To know the incidence of benign and malignant lesions of the Neck region.
To know the sex ratio and age incidence in different lesions.
Materials and Methods
The study period was of 1 year (January to December 2009). This cross-sectional study was carried out at a tertiary care teaching hospital at Jamnagar with a study population of 103 people (54 males and 49 females).
Data Collection Procedure
All the patients were thoroughly examined at the ENT department, Guru Gobind Singh Government Hospital, Jamnagar, precisely by taking a detailed history, general examination along with a system-based otorhinolaryngological assessment. Endoscopic procedures, investigations like X-Ray, CT scans and MRI of the head and neck region, FNAC, and a biopsy for the histopathological study were done as required to arrive at the diagnosis. When it was required, the opinion of particular specialist has been taken. All the biopsy specimens were received and processed in Histopathology section, Pathology Department, M P Shah Medical College, Jamnagar. All the specimens were processed in decreasing grades of alcohol, paraffin blocks were prepared and Hematoxylin and Eosin staining done routinely. Special stains like PAS (Periodic Acid Schiff) and Reticulin were done as required. All the cases were histopathologically confirmed followed by evidence-based interventions according to the international clinical protocol.
Statistical Analysis Used
The data collected were thoroughly cleaned and entered into MS-Excel spread sheets, and analysis was carried out. The procedures involved were transcription, preliminary data inspection, content analysis, and interpretation. Percentages were used in this study to analyze epidemiological variables.
Observations and Results
A total of 103 cases were analyzed and their clinico-histological correlation was done.
In our series, thyroid constitute the maximum lesions (31.06% each) followed by throat (27.18%), lymph nodes (20.38%), skin and soft tissues (18.44%) and salivary glands (6.79%). (Table 1)
Goiter (diffuse and multinodular) constituted the highest percentage (24%), followed by squamous cell carcinoma in throat and soft tissues (20% and 2% each), Koch’s lesion (10%) and pleomorphic adenoma (5%). Thyroglossal cyst and secondaries in lymph node constituted 4% each. Non Hodgkin’s lymphoma and reactive lymphadenopathies were 3% each while papillary carcinoma and neck abscesses comprised 2% respectively. Rare lesions like Castleman’s disease, Carotid Body Tumor, Salivary Duct Carcinoma etc. were also noted.(Table 2)
Males had a slight predominance over females. (52.42% males and 47.58% females). Lesions of thyroid (29 females, 03 males) and lymph nodes (12 females, 09 males) were more common in females while those of throat (26 males, 02 females), skin and soft tissues (11 males, 04 females) and salivary glands (05 males, 02 females) were more common in males. Males also supervened females in case of malignant lesions. Malignancies were noted in 79.41% of males while in only 20.59% of females mainly due to high incidence of Squamous Cell Carcinoma in throat region in males. Females outnumbered males in case of benign lesions comprising approximately 76.74% of lesions as compared to 23.26% in males due to high incidence of goiter in females. Inflammatory lesions occurred in approximately 63% of males as against to 37% of females. (Table 3)
More than half of the lesions (54%) were noted in the middle age group (21-50 years). Only 10% were noted in pediatric age group while 19% were seen in the elderly (>60 years). In the pediatric age group, Koch’s lesion showed the highest frequency (30%). Reactive lymphadenitis, pleomorphic adenoma, nasopharyngeal angiofibroma, juvenile laryngeal papilloma and thyroglossal cyst comprised the remaining lesions. In the middle aged, benign lesions had the frequency of 69.82% as compared to 30.18% of malignant lesions. Goiter constituted the highest percentage of benign lesions (56.75%) while squamous cell carcinoma of malignant lesions (53.33%). In the elderly, 31.57% were benign lesions and 68.42% were malignant; thus malignant lesions outnumbered the benign lesions in this age group. Squamous cell carcinoma comprised the maximum of malignant (69.23%) as well as overall (47.36%) lesions.(Table 4)
Out of all lesions, 42.7% were benign, 33% malignant and 24.27% inflammatory. Of all inflammatory lesions, maximum (50%) were found in lymph nodes followed by 22.72% each in throat and skin and soft tissues and 4.5% in thyroid. No inflammatory lesion was seen in salivary glands! Benign lesions affected the organs in decreasing frequency as follows: thyroid (65%), salivary glands (13.63%), skin and soft tissues (11.36%), throat and lymph nodes (4.5% each). Malignant lesions were found maximum in throat (61.76%), followed by lymph nodes (23.52%), thyroid and soft tissues (5.8% each) and salivary glands (2.9%). (Table 5)
The study included interpretation of all the biopsies and specimens of the neck region received in Histopathology Section.
The neck region is divided into anterior and posterior triangles by the sternocleidomastoid muscle. The anterior triangle extends from the inferior border of the mandible to the sternum below, and is bounded by the midline and the sternocleidomastoid muscle. The posterior triangle extends backwards to the anterior border of trapezius and inferiorly to the clavicle. The upper part of anterior triangle is commonly subdivided into the submandibular triangle above the digastric muscle and the submental triangle below. (8)
Various organs of the neck region are located in these triangles and their lesions can be identified by their specific anatomic site but can also be confused with the lymph node swellings which can be found in any of these triangles as well as various swellings of skin and soft tissues. The lymphatic drainage of the head and neck is of considerable importance. The most important chain of nodes are the jugular nodes (also called cervical), which run adjacent to the internal jugular vein. The other main groups are the submental, submandibular, pre- and post-auricular, occipital and posterior triangle nodes. Metastatic spread of squamous cell carcinoma, which accounts for 80% of malignant disease of the head and neck, most commonly occurs with tumors of the nasopharynx, tongue base, tonsil, pyriform fossae and supraglottic larynx. When an enlarged neck node is detected and the possibility of malignant disease suspected, it is these five primary sites that must receive careful examination and investigation. (8)
To analyze the modes of presentation of different lesions, the entities were broadly divided into five main categories according to the site of involvement in the neck region. They were grouped as
1) Those involving the thyroid
2) Those involving the upper aero-digestive tract (throat).
3) Those involving the salivary glands
4) Those involving the lymph nodes
5) Those involving the skin and soft tissues.
Majority of our patients presented with a painless neck mass.
Persistent adenopathy raises more concerns, especially enlarged lymph nodes within the posterior triangle or supraclavicular space, nodes that are painless, firm, and not mobile, or a single dominant node that persists for more than 6 weeks should all heighten concern for malignancy.(5) The world literature states that the most common etiology for cervical adenopathy is reactive lymphadenopathy following a viral or bacterial illness. They usually disappeared after a course of an antibiotic and no histopathological confirmation was required. In our study, the most common cause for cervical adenopathy was Koch’s lymphadenitis
In our study, we got 05 cases of pleomorphic adenoma and one case each of Warthin’s Tumor and Salivary duct carcinoma. Thus Pleomorphic adenoma proved to be the most common of salivary gland tumors (71.4%). Several large studies have shown that they represent 45-74% of all salivary gland tumors. (9) Asymptomatic mass of long duration was the most common presentation. Women are more likely to be affected than men (10) but in our series, 3 cases were found in males and 2 in females
Head and neck malignancies are common in several regions of the world where tobacco use and alcohol consumption is high. The age standardized incidence rate of head and neck neoplasms in males exceeds 30/100,000 in regions of France, Hong Kong, the Indian subcontinent, Central and Eastern Europe, Spain, Italy, Brazil, and among the US blacks. High rates (> 10/100,000) in females are found in the Indian subcontinent, Hong Kong and Philippines. The variation in the incidence of cancers by sub-site of head and neck is mostly related to the relative distribution of major risk factors such as tobacco or betel quid chewing, cigarette or
The WHO has classified seven percent of world population as suffering from clinically apparent goiter. Most patients are in developing countries, where the disease is attributed to iodine deficiency (16). The reported incidence of both benign & malignant lesions in surgically treated thyroid swellings varies widely between different geographical areas of the world (17). In the present study we found non neoplastic lesions with a frequency of 92% as compared to 08% neoplastic lesions. The commonest non-neoplastic lesion was adenomatous hyperplasia with a frequency of 46.42%. We found colloid goiter as the second common cause of goiter(39.28%).There is no doubt that nuclear morphological appearances changes play a major role in the diagnosis of papillary carcinoma(18). It is possible that lesions in which the nuclear feature are “questionable” represent an early development of papillary carcinoma in a preexisting benign lesion as suggested by the fact that in microdissection experiments the RET/PTC rearrangements are restricted to these foci(19). Variation in the frequency of thyroid carcinomas has been observed in various parts of the world. We found papillary carcinoma as the commonest malignant lesion. One case of papillary carcinoma presented as a lytic lesion in the right femur and was diagnosed as such when biopsy from orthopedic department was received. Later on the thyroid was operated and the primary identified. Thus papillary carcinoma can present as an occult lesion with metastasis. The observation in the present study may be considered as a baseline data of thyroid diseases in Western India and a more elaborate prospective study carried out on a large scale throughout country will contribute more to project the exacting profile of thyroid diseases. Such a study will also help in outlining the plans for early detection, diagnosis and management of the thyroid diseases.
A wide variety of skin and soft tissue lesions were noted in the neck region. Benign tumors constituted the maximum (47.37%), followed by inflammatory lesions (42.11%). Thyroglossal cyst was the most common benign swelling presenting as midline neck swelling which moves on deglutition and protrusion of tongue. They differ from Bronchogenic cysts histologically that they do not contain smooth muscle and they frequently contain thyroid follicles (20). Only 02 cases of malignancies were noted. Both were diagnosed as squamous cell carcinoma histopathologically. They presented as fungating lesions; one in post-auricular region and other on lateral side of neck which was a direct extension from intraoral carcinoma. We also got each case of lipoma, dermoid cyst, angiofibroma, neurofibroma and also skin lesions like pemphigus foliaceus, verruca vulgaris, verruca plana and infected sebaceous cyst. We also got a case of carotid body tumor in a 16 years old female
The most common benign lesion of neck is goiter which indicates dietary lack while the commonest malignant lesion is squamous cell carcinoma because of habit of tobacco chewing in different forms and cigarette smoking.
Squamous cell carcinoma is found to be more common in older and middle aged patients. Malignancy of mouth and throat in younger aged patients has a strong relationship with gutkha chewing.
Malignant lesions were more common in males owing to higher incidence of squamous cell carcinoma while benign lesions were more common in females due to high prevalence of goiter.
Koch’s lesion showed the highest frequency in pediatric age group while squamous cell carcinoma in the elderly.
Of all the sites in neck, inflammatory lesions were found maximum in lymph nodes, benign lesions in thyroid and malignancies in throat.
Malignancies like papillary carcinoma of thyroid can present as an occult lesion with distant metastasis.
Detection of distant secondaries in bone can be the first sign in papillary carcinoma of thyroid.