King's College London

Research portal

Evidence for the approach to the diagnostic evaluation of squamous cell carcinoma occult primary tumors of the head and neck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Pawel Golusinski, Pasquale Di Maio, Berrin Pehlivan, Steve Colley, Paul Nankivell, Anthony Kong, Andrew Hartley, Hesham Mehanna

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-152
Number of pages8
Early online date30 Nov 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Nov 2018

King's Authors


Metastases to the cervical lymph nodes from a occult primary (CUP) of head and neck squamous carcinomas has been increasing in presentation (HNSCC). Modern diagnostic workup, including clinical evaluation, conventional imaging, FDG-PET/CT and panendoscopy/tonsillectomy enables detection of the primary site in over half of all cases, and is associated with significantly improved survival rates. Recent studies have demonstrated the utility of novel molecular pathology and transoral surgical techniques in improving diagnosis and treatment. We present a new, evidence-based protocol incorporating these novel diagnostic modalities. It aims to identify the site of the primary tumor, and determine the stage of the disease, including extranodal extension. This information can personalise treatment recommendations, rationalise combinations of treatment modalities, and thereby potentially minimise toxicity and improving functional outcomes.

View graph of relations

© 2018 King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS | England | United Kingdom | Tel +44 (0)20 7836 5454