Nasopharyngeal carcinoma with cystic cervical metastasis masquerading as branchial cleft cyst

A potential pitfall in diagnosis and management

Lum Sai-Guan, Min Han Kong, Ngan Kah-Wai, Mohd. Razif Mohamad Yunus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Introduction: Most metastatic lymph nodes from head and neck malignancy are solid. Cystic nodes are found in 33% - 61% of carcinomas arise from Waldeyer's ring, of which only 1.8% - 8% originate are from the nasopharynx. Some cystic cervical metastases were initially presumed to be branchial cleft cyst. This case report aims to highlight the unusual presentation of cystic cervical metastasis secondary to nasopharyngeal carcinoma in a young adult. The histopathology, radiological features and management strategy were discussed. Case Report: A 36-year-old man presented with a solitary cystic cervical swelling, initially diagnosed as branchial cleft cyst. Fine needle aspiration yielded 18 ml of straw-coloured fluid. During cytological examination no atypical cells were observed. Computed tomography of the neck showed a heterogeneous mass with multiseptation medial to the sternocleidomastoid muscle. Histopathological examination of the mass, post excision, revealed a metastatic lymph node. A suspicious mucosal lesion at the nasopharynx was detected after repeated thorough head and neck examinations and the biopsy result confirmed undifferentiated nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Conclusion: Cystic cervical metastasis may occur in young patients under 40 years. The primary tumour may not be obvious during initial presentation because it mimicks benign branchial cleft cyst clinically. Retrospective review of the computed tomography images revealed features that were not characteristic of simple branchial cleft cyst. The inadequacy of assessment and interpretation had lead to the error in diagnosis and subsequent management. Metastatic head and neck lesion must be considered in a young adult with a cystic neck mass.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-120
Number of pages4
JournalIranian Journal of Otorhinolaryngology
Volume29
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Fingerprint

Branchioma
Neck
Neoplasm Metastasis
Nasopharynx
Head
Young Adult
Lymph Nodes
Tomography
Carcinoma
Fine Needle Biopsy
Neoplasms
Nasopharyngeal carcinoma
Biopsy
Muscles

Keywords

  • Branchial cleft cyst
  • Metastasis
  • Nasopharyngeal carcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology

Cite this

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title = "Nasopharyngeal carcinoma with cystic cervical metastasis masquerading as branchial cleft cyst: A potential pitfall in diagnosis and management",
abstract = "Introduction: Most metastatic lymph nodes from head and neck malignancy are solid. Cystic nodes are found in 33{\%} - 61{\%} of carcinomas arise from Waldeyer's ring, of which only 1.8{\%} - 8{\%} originate are from the nasopharynx. Some cystic cervical metastases were initially presumed to be branchial cleft cyst. This case report aims to highlight the unusual presentation of cystic cervical metastasis secondary to nasopharyngeal carcinoma in a young adult. The histopathology, radiological features and management strategy were discussed. Case Report: A 36-year-old man presented with a solitary cystic cervical swelling, initially diagnosed as branchial cleft cyst. Fine needle aspiration yielded 18 ml of straw-coloured fluid. During cytological examination no atypical cells were observed. Computed tomography of the neck showed a heterogeneous mass with multiseptation medial to the sternocleidomastoid muscle. Histopathological examination of the mass, post excision, revealed a metastatic lymph node. A suspicious mucosal lesion at the nasopharynx was detected after repeated thorough head and neck examinations and the biopsy result confirmed undifferentiated nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Conclusion: Cystic cervical metastasis may occur in young patients under 40 years. The primary tumour may not be obvious during initial presentation because it mimicks benign branchial cleft cyst clinically. Retrospective review of the computed tomography images revealed features that were not characteristic of simple branchial cleft cyst. The inadequacy of assessment and interpretation had lead to the error in diagnosis and subsequent management. Metastatic head and neck lesion must be considered in a young adult with a cystic neck mass.",
keywords = "Branchial cleft cyst, Metastasis, Nasopharyngeal carcinoma",
author = "Lum Sai-Guan and Kong, {Min Han} and Ngan Kah-Wai and {Mohamad Yunus}, {Mohd. Razif}",
year = "2017",
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language = "English",
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T1 - Nasopharyngeal carcinoma with cystic cervical metastasis masquerading as branchial cleft cyst

T2 - A potential pitfall in diagnosis and management

AU - Sai-Guan, Lum

AU - Kong, Min Han

AU - Kah-Wai, Ngan

AU - Mohamad Yunus, Mohd. Razif

PY - 2017

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N2 - Introduction: Most metastatic lymph nodes from head and neck malignancy are solid. Cystic nodes are found in 33% - 61% of carcinomas arise from Waldeyer's ring, of which only 1.8% - 8% originate are from the nasopharynx. Some cystic cervical metastases were initially presumed to be branchial cleft cyst. This case report aims to highlight the unusual presentation of cystic cervical metastasis secondary to nasopharyngeal carcinoma in a young adult. The histopathology, radiological features and management strategy were discussed. Case Report: A 36-year-old man presented with a solitary cystic cervical swelling, initially diagnosed as branchial cleft cyst. Fine needle aspiration yielded 18 ml of straw-coloured fluid. During cytological examination no atypical cells were observed. Computed tomography of the neck showed a heterogeneous mass with multiseptation medial to the sternocleidomastoid muscle. Histopathological examination of the mass, post excision, revealed a metastatic lymph node. A suspicious mucosal lesion at the nasopharynx was detected after repeated thorough head and neck examinations and the biopsy result confirmed undifferentiated nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Conclusion: Cystic cervical metastasis may occur in young patients under 40 years. The primary tumour may not be obvious during initial presentation because it mimicks benign branchial cleft cyst clinically. Retrospective review of the computed tomography images revealed features that were not characteristic of simple branchial cleft cyst. The inadequacy of assessment and interpretation had lead to the error in diagnosis and subsequent management. Metastatic head and neck lesion must be considered in a young adult with a cystic neck mass.

AB - Introduction: Most metastatic lymph nodes from head and neck malignancy are solid. Cystic nodes are found in 33% - 61% of carcinomas arise from Waldeyer's ring, of which only 1.8% - 8% originate are from the nasopharynx. Some cystic cervical metastases were initially presumed to be branchial cleft cyst. This case report aims to highlight the unusual presentation of cystic cervical metastasis secondary to nasopharyngeal carcinoma in a young adult. The histopathology, radiological features and management strategy were discussed. Case Report: A 36-year-old man presented with a solitary cystic cervical swelling, initially diagnosed as branchial cleft cyst. Fine needle aspiration yielded 18 ml of straw-coloured fluid. During cytological examination no atypical cells were observed. Computed tomography of the neck showed a heterogeneous mass with multiseptation medial to the sternocleidomastoid muscle. Histopathological examination of the mass, post excision, revealed a metastatic lymph node. A suspicious mucosal lesion at the nasopharynx was detected after repeated thorough head and neck examinations and the biopsy result confirmed undifferentiated nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Conclusion: Cystic cervical metastasis may occur in young patients under 40 years. The primary tumour may not be obvious during initial presentation because it mimicks benign branchial cleft cyst clinically. Retrospective review of the computed tomography images revealed features that were not characteristic of simple branchial cleft cyst. The inadequacy of assessment and interpretation had lead to the error in diagnosis and subsequent management. Metastatic head and neck lesion must be considered in a young adult with a cystic neck mass.

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