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Best Practice No 169

Evidence based pathology: squamous carcinoma of the hypopharynx


This best practice article reviews the published evidence on the pathology and patterns of spread of carcinomas of the hypopharynx, and the relevance of pathological features to prognosis. Medline (1966–2001) was searched using a combination of head and neck neoplasms and prognosis, focusing on hypopharynx and pathology. Other relevant publications were identified from the bibliographies of these papers, and from those obtained opportunistically. There is relatively little pathological literature devoted specifically to squamous carcinomas of the hypopharynx and most information comes from large series of patients with head and neck cancers at a range at sites. Lack of consistency in reporting and shifts in terminology make comparisons between series difficult. The most important features determining prognosis are size and extent of local spread of the primary carcinoma and extent of involvement of regional lymph nodes. There is evidence to support the use of the minimum dataset criteria for head and neck carcinomas at this site. Within the hypopharynx, subsite related differences in aetiology and biology may become important.

  • hypopharynx
  • prognosis
  • evidence base
  • squamous carcinoma

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