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Parotid small cell carcinoma presenting with long-term survival after surgery alone: a case report

Takeharu Kanazawa1*, Noriyoshi Fukushima2, Hidetaka Tanaka1, Juntaro Shiba1, Hiroshi Nishino1, Hiroyuki Mineta3 and Keiichi Ichimura1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery, Jichi Medical University School of Medicine, 3311–1, Shimotsuke, 329-0498, Japan

2 Department of Pathology, Jichi Medical University School of Medicine, Shimotsuke, 329-0498, Japan

3 Department of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery, Hamamatsu University School of Medicine, Hamamatsu, 431-3192, Japan

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Journal of Medical Case Reports 2012, 6:431  doi:10.1186/1752-1947-6-431

Published: 28 December 2012



Primary involvement of the salivary glands in small cell carcinoma is rare, and has one of the worst prognoses of salivary gland neoplasms. However, it has been reported that some cases have a favorable outcome, although the prognostic factors are still under consideration. Multidisciplinary therapy was usually required to achieve long-term survival. Recently, a resemblance of some small cell carcinomas of the salivary gland to cutaneous Merkel cell carcinoma was suggested; the latter have the potential for spontaneous regression, which is related to a favorable clinical outcome.

Case presentation

We present a locoregional advanced parotid small cell carcinoma with multiple lymph node metastases in an 87-year-old Asian woman. The tumor was controlled by surgery alone, and nine-year disease-free survival was achieved without any adjunctive therapy. To the best of our knowledge, this is the longest reported follow-up of head and neck small cell carcinoma.


We believe this to be the first case of small cell carcinoma with involvement of the salivary glands reported in the literature with a good outcome after surgery alone without any adjunctive therapy.