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Squamous cell carcinoma

Reviewer: Adriana Handra-Luca, M.D. (see Reviewers page)
Revised: 3 February 2013, last major update October 2012
Copyright: (c) 2003-2013, PathologyOutlines.com, Inc.


● Exophytic, obstructive tumor usually in smokers (J Am Coll Surg 2006;202:237), but also children
● Most common primary malignancy of trachea (40%-75%, Cancer 1990;66:894)


● Usually arises in lower third of trachea (Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol 1993;250:383, Acta Otolaryngol 1991;111:1162)
● May be extension of other head and neck primary
● May be associated with pneumoconiosis or post-tracheotomy scar.(Respiration 1993;60:250)
● Rapid clinical course, poor prognosis (Am J Clin Oncol 2011;34:32, Virchows Arch 2009;455:423, Jpn J Clin Oncol 1997;27:305)

Case reports

● 11 month old boy with severe dyspnea and stridor (Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol 1998;43:163)
● 37 year old woman with hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia (J Laryngol Otol 2002;116:742)
● 50 year old man with unresectable basaloid squamous cell carcinoma (J Cancer Res Ther 2010;6:321)
● 52 year old woman with HPV and squamous cell carcinoma in a solitary tracheal papilloma (Ann Thorac Surg 2004;77:2201)
● 54 year old man with dyspnea, hemoptysis, cough and weight loss (Acta Otorhinolaryngol Ital 2010;30:209)
● 70 year old woman with double-primary cancer of the lung and trachea (Nihon Kyobu Shikkan Gakkai Zasshi 1996;34:216)
● 78 year old man with spindle cell sarcomatoid carcinoma (Tuberk Toraks 2009;57:337)


● Surgical excision with end-to-end anastomosis, radiation therapy (Med Princ Pract 2004;13:69)

Micro description

● Variants include spindle cell, sarcomatoid
● May arise in papilloma
● May be combined with small cell and giant cell carcinoma

Micro images

Basaloid squamous cell carcinoma

Various images

Differential diagnosis

Adenoid cystic carcinoma
● Extension of esophageal tumor: see Arch Pathol Lab Med 1984;108:983
● Metastasis from colon carcinoma (Can Assoc Radiol J 1989;40:198)

End of Trachea > Tumors > Squamous cell carcinoma

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