Moderately Differentiated Neuroendocrine Carcinoma (Atypical Carcinoid) of the Parotid Gland: Report of Three Cases with Contemporary Review of Salivary Neuroendocrine Carcinomas

Nasser Said-Al-Naief, Katherine Sciandra, Douglas R. Gnepp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations


Primary neuroendocrine carcinomas (NECs) of the salivary glands are rare. Most reported NECs in that region are small cell carcinomas with few cases of large cell undifferentiated carcinoma and typical carcinoid tumors. Only two moderately differentiated NECs (atypical carcinoid tumors) have been previously reported. In the current series, the authors report three additional moderately differentiated NECs (atypical carcinoid tumors) of the parotid gland; two occurred in women and one in a man. All patients were initially treated with parotidectomy, with selective lymph node excision in one, and radiation therapy in another. Follow-up was available for two cases (18 and 79 months). One patient had two local recurrences, developing lymph node and liver metastases requiring further surgery and chemotherapy. Currently, she is alive with disease, on supportive care. The second patient is alive with no signs of recurrence. Patients' work-up excluded the possibility of metastatic NECs to the salivary glands in all cases. Histologically, the tumors demonstrated infiltrating nests, cords and trabeculae of round, oval to spindle shaped cells with moderate to focally abundant eosinophilic cytoplasm, small to prominent nucleoli and chromatin stippling. Scattered rosette-like structures were prominent in one tumor. The highest mitotic counts for the three tumors ranged from 5 to 8 mitotic figures/10hpfs. Necrosis, focal but distinct, was noted in two tumors, vascular invasion in two tumors and perineural invasion in one tumor. Immunohistochemical staining was diagnostic of neuroendocrine carcinoma, showing uniform positive labeling with broad-spectrum cytokeratin (with a paranuclear punctuate pattern in one case), chromogranin and synaptophysin antibodies. CK20 was negative in two tumors and stained rare cells (

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)295-303
Number of pages9
JournalHead and Neck Pathology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2013
Externally publishedYes



  • Atypical carcinoid tumor
  • Neuroendocrine carcinoma
  • Neuroendocrine tumor
  • Salivary gland

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Oncology
  • Otorhinolaryngology

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