Cytomorphologic characteristics and differential diagnoses of lymphoepithelial carcinoma of the parotid

Jennifer A. Hipp, Xin Jing, Matthew A. Zarka, Alessandra C. Schmitt, Momin T. Siddiqui, Paul Wakely, Justin Bishop, Syed Z. Ali

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Introduction: Lymphoepithelial carcinoma of the salivary gland is an extremely rare neoplasm and is challenging to diagnose by fine needle aspiration (FNA). There are rare reports on the cytopathologic features of lymphoepithelial carcinoma, which may be mistaken for other high-grade salivary gland neoplasm or a metastasis to the salivary gland. Materials and methods: A retrospective review was undertaken of 7 cases of lymphoepithelial carcinoma of the parotid diagnosed on FNA with histologic confirmation from 4 major medical centers. Results: Cytomorphologic features of lymphoepithelial carcinoma include smears with moderate cellularity displaying a rich nonneoplastic population of lymphoplasmacytic cells admixed with tissue fragments of high grade, malignant undifferentiated epithelial cells with high nuclear to cytoplasm ratio, hyperchromasia, prominent nucleoli, and scant to abundant, indistinct cytoplasm. Discussion: Diagnostic pitfalls of lymphoepithelial carcinoma include metastatic squamous cell carcinoma, metastatic nasopharyngeal carcinoma, and other high grade primary salivary gland neoplasms. Recognizing this lesion may help guide clinicians to perform additional imaging studies to exclude a primary from other sites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-99
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Society of Cytopathology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016


  • Ancillary studies
  • Cytomorphology of lymphoepithelial carcinoma
  • Fine needle aspiration
  • Lymphoepithelial-like carcinoma
  • Salivary glands lesions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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