Extranodal follicular dendritic cell sarcoma of the head and neck region: A clinicopathological study of 7 cases

Document Type



Pathology and Laboratory Medicine


Background: Follicular dendritic cell (FDC) sarcoma is a rare neoplasm arising from follicular dendritic cells (FDCs). It can be nodal or extranodal. Histological diagnosis of extranodal FDC sarcoma in the head and neck region is challenging and a significant percentage are misdiagnosed.
Objectives: To report clinicopathological features of head and neck extranodal FDC sarcoma cases and discuss differential diagnoses. Methods. Seven head and neck extranodal FDC sarcomas were retrieved and clinicopathological features were noted.
Results. Two tumors each involved parapharyngeal space and tonsil while remaining cases involved the parotid, soft tissue of neck and oropharynx. Age range was 12 to 79 years (mean and median age were 40 and 44 years respectively) and there was a male predilection (6 males: 1 female). All showed spindle to ovoid cells arranged in fascicles, whorls and/or storiform pattern. Mitoses ranged from 3 to 20/mm2. All tumors expressed CD21 and CD23. Two patients died of their disease at 9 and 16 months. Both had tumors larger than 5 cm with ≥10 mitoses/mm2. Three patients were alive at 12, 44 and 184 months.
Conclusions: There was a distinct male predominance in our cohort. FDC sarcoma should be included in the differential diagnosis of spindle cell extranodal neoplasms in the head and neck with a whorled growth pattern and intratumoral lymphocytes. Head and neck region tumors show similar clinicopathologic characteristics as their counterparts at other locations with potential for aggressive behavior especially in tumors greater than 5 cm in size and with high mitotic rates


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Publication (Name of Journal)

International journal of surgical pathology