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Lymphoepithelial-like carcinoma of the parotid gland: a case report and a brief review of the western literature

Maria R Ambrosio1*, Maria G Mastrogiulio1, Aurora Barone1, Bruno J Rocca1, Carmine Gallo2, Stefano Lazzi1, Lorenzo Leoncini1 and Cristiana Bellan1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Medical Biotechnology, Pathological Anatomy Section, University of Siena, via delle Scotte, Siena 6-53100, Italy

2 Department of Biomedical and Neuromotor Sciences, Section of Anatomic Pathology, “M.Malpighi”, Bellaria Hospital, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy

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Diagnostic Pathology 2013, 8:115  doi:10.1186/1746-1596-8-115

Published: 15 July 2013



Primary lymphoepithelial-like carcinoma of the parotid gland is a rare tumour with an increased incidence among Eskimos and Orientals. In these populations, it is usually associated with Epstein-Barr virus. In Western countries, salivary gland lymphoepithelial-like carcinomas are uncommon and only 14 cases have been described so far; among these, only five cases showed Epstein-Barr virus positivity.

Case report

A 45-year-old woman was admitted to Siena Hospital for evaluation of a pre-existent (2 years) painless and tender submandibular mass, rapidly enlarging since two months. On physical examination, a 2.5-cm mass was found in the right parotid. It was firm, mobile and non-tender. Laboratory data were within reference range. Nuclear magnetic resonance detected a 2,5×1,5×1-cm well-circumscribed mass in the deep lobe of the right parotid. A total right paroditectomy with dissection of a satellite lymph node was performed. On the basis of morphological, immunohistochemical and molecular biology findings, a diagnosis of stage II (according to TNM7) Epstein Barr-virus positive, undifferentiated lymphoepithelial-like carcinoma of the parotid gland was made. Twenty months after surgery the patient was free of disease.


Further studies seem to be necessary to completely elucidate the oncogenic role of Epstein Barr-virus in these tumors, which have identical morphology but different prognosis and variable presence of the virus.

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