Cervical lymphadenopathy in childhood: nasopharyngeal carcinoma as a challenging diagnosis
AbstractNasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is a carcinoma that arises from the nasopharyngeal mucosa and differs from other head and neck carcinomas by its unique histologic, epidemiologic, and biologic characteristics. NPC is rare in most countries, especially Europe and North America. However, it has a high incidence in several regions of South China. The incidence variability of NPC, among different geographical and ethnic groups, indicates a combination of genetic susceptibility, infection by Epstein-Barr virus and environmental factors. NPC is classified into three histological subtypes according to the 1991 World Health Organization classification: squamous cell carcinoma, nonkeratinizing carcinoma, and basaloid squamous cell carcinoma. The symptoms of patients with NPC are related to the primary tumor site and the degree of dissemination. Therefore, patients can remain asymptomatic during a long period of time. Imaging exams and biopsy of the tumor mass generally are sufficient to establish the diagnosis. NPC is a rare disease among children. The authors report a case of a 12-year-old boy who sought medical attention complaining of a progressive growing tumoral mass on the right side of the neck. The computed tomography images of the head and neck and the histological examination of a cervical lymph node biopsy diagnosed a metastatic NPC.
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