Home | About CytoJournalEditorial Board | Archived articles | Search CytoJ Articles | Subscribe | Peer review policies | CytoJournal Quiz Cases
  Reviewer corner | Author corner | OA Steward’s corner | CF member’s corner | Join as CF member | Manuscript submission | Open Access (OA) Advocacy
CytoJournal All 'FULL TEXT' in HTML are FREE under "open access" charter of CytoJournal.
To login for downloading any PDF OR to request TOC (Table of Content) by e-mail, please click here
Home Email this page Print this page Small font size Default font size Increase font size Cytopathology Foundation
Navigate here
Resource links
 »  Similar in PUBMED
 »  Search Pubmed for
 »  Search in Google Scholar for
 »Related articles
 »  Article in PDF (1,529 KB)
 »  Citation Manager
 »  Access Statistics
 »  Reader Comments
 »  Email Alert *
 »  Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

  In this article
 »  Abstract
 » Introduction
 » Case Report
 » Discussion
 » Summary
 »  Competing Intere...
 »  Authorship State...
 »  Ethics Statement...
 »  References
 »  Article Figures

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded23    
    Comments [Add]    

Recommend this journal


Browse articles
CytoJournal 2014,  11:4

Pleural fluid metastases of salivary duct carcinoma: A case report and review of the literature

Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA 90095 1732, USA

Date of Submission15-Oct-2013
Date of Acceptance19-Dec-2013
Date of Web Publication15-Feb-2014

Correspondence Address:
Rachel Conrad
Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA 90095 1732
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1742-6413.127215

Rights and Permissions

 » Abstract 

Salivary duct carcinoma (SDC) comprises a small proportion of salivary gland tumors; however, it is known to be aggressive with a high rate of metastasis. Although frequent references are made to pulmonary dissemination, metastases in the pleural fluid have not been described. In this article, we report the cytologic features of metastatic SDC in the pleural fluid. The clinical history, cytomorphology and immunohistochemical features used for diagnosis are described. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first case of pleural fluid involvement by salivary duct carcinoma reported in the literature.

Keywords: Cytology, metastases, pleural, salivary duct carcinoma

How to cite this article:
Huss J, Conrad R, Hirschowitz S, Moatamed N. Pleural fluid metastases of salivary duct carcinoma: A case report and review of the literature. CytoJournal 2014;11:4

How to cite this URL:
Huss J, Conrad R, Hirschowitz S, Moatamed N. Pleural fluid metastases of salivary duct carcinoma: A case report and review of the literature. CytoJournal [serial online] 2014 [cited 2019 Dec 10];11:4. Available from: http://www.cytojournal.com/text.asp?2014/11/1/4/127215

Editorial/Peer Review Statement
To ensure the integrity and highest quality of CytoJournal publications, the review process of this manuscript was conducted under a double blind model (authors are blinded for reviewers and vice versa) through automatic online system.

 » Introduction Top

Salivary duct carcinoma (SDC) is a relatively uncommon salivary gland tumor, with a high stage on diagnosis and a high rate of metastasis over the course of the disease. [1],[2],[3] Multiple sites of metastasis have been reported, including lung, liver, bone and rarely gingiva, eye, vagina and even distant inguinal lymph nodes. [1],[4],[5],[6],[7] While multiple other salivary gland tumors have been reported in pleural fluid, our review of the literature found no prior reference to SDC metastasis. In this article, we describe a patient with extensively metastatic salivary duct carcinoma presenting with a pleural effusion, providing a previously unreported finding of SDC in the pleural fluid.

 » Case Report Top

The present case report is about a 76-year-old male patient, with a 9-year history of SDC metastatic to the right testicle and brain, who presented at our institution for cryoablation of suspicious lung nodules and subsequently had a recurrent left pleural effusion. He was originally diagnosed at age 67 with a 1.5 cm right submandibular SDC, which showed large polygonal epithelioid cells with prominent nucleoli and abundant granular eosinophilic cytoplasm, arranged in a cribriform pattern with central necrosis [Figure 1]. Perineural and lymphovascular invasion were noted. Immunohistochemical stains showed positivity for human epidermal growth factor receptor-2/neu (HER2/neu) and gross cystic disease fluid protein-15 (GCDFP-15) and negativity for estrogen receptor (ER) and progesterone receptor (PR). The patient was treated with local radiation and chemotherapy. At 4 years later, pulmonary micronodules were noted on positron emission tomography and computed tomography (CT) scan, as well as a recurrence in his right testis. He underwent orchiectomy and received additional chemotherapy. The following year, a right occipital lobe metastasis was irradiated and resected. Serial radiographic imaging showed slow progressive growth of the pulmonary nodules.
Figure 1: The histologic section of the parotid gland tumor shows a malignant proliferation of a duct, resembling ductal carcinoma in situ of the breast. There is a cribriform architecture with central necrosis (arrow). The cells have prominent nucleoli with apocrine type cytoplasm (H and E, ×10 Obj)

Click here to view

At the time of current admission, the patient was receiving radiation therapy, but not systemic therapy. The most recent chest CT angiogram showed bilateral pulmonary metastases up to 5.4 cm, pleural implants and a nodular rind of metastatic disease along the left mediastinal reflection. Following cryoablation of the three largest nodules, ultrasound-guided thoracentesis of a left pleural effusion yielded 350 cc of bloody, opaque fluid. Cytological evaluation of cytospin preparations and cell block revealed large, pleomorphic epithelioid cells in small clusters with subtle cribriform features [Figure 2]. The cells displayed large oval nuclei with prominent nucleoli and coarsely granular chromatin. A moderate amount of finely granular apocrine-type cytoplasm was present.
Figure 2: Composite photograph of the pleural fluid shows smears and cell block. The smear shows a single cluster of epithelioid cells with prominent nucleoli and apocrine cytoplasm (Papanicolaou stain, ×40 Obj). A subtle cribriforming feature is noted (arrow). The inset is a photomicrograph of the cell block showing a cluster of malignant epithelioid cells making a lumen (H and E, ×60 Obj)

Click here to view

Immunohistochemical stains [Figure 3] performed on the cell block were positive for androgen receptor (AR) (panel A), HER2/neu (panel B), Moc31 (panel C) and GCDFP-15 (panel D). These cells were also positive for BerEp4 and were negative for ER and PR. The malignant cells were not present on deeper cuts for evaluation of mammaglobin and B72.3. The morphologic and immunohistochemical profile was similar to the original submandibular pathology and a diagnosis of metastatic SDC was rendered.
Figure 3: Composite photograph of the immunohistochemical stains performed on the cell block. Panel A is a photomicrograph of androgen receptor showing positive nuclear staining of the malignant cells. Panel B shows human epidermal growth factor receptor-2/neu staining cell membrane of the malignant cells. Panel C illustrates cell membrane and cytoplasmic staining of these cells with MOC-31. Panel D shows cytoplasmic staining of this cluster with gross cystic disease fluid protein-15 (×60 Obj)

Click here to view

 » Discussion Top

Malignancy is a common cause of pleural effusion, accounting for 9-44% of cases. [8] The likelihood of pleural involvement varies according to tumor type, with adenocarcinomas comprising two-thirds of all malignant effusions. Among men, lung cancer is the most frequent etiology, followed by lymphoproliferative lesions and gastrointestinal tract malignancies. Breast, lung and lymphoid neoplasms make up the majority of malignant pleural effusions in women. [8]

Pleural fluid involvement by salivary gland tumors is rare. Occasional case reports exist of adenoid cystic carcinoma metastasizing to the pleural fluid, [9],[10],[11] as well as a rare case of benign metastasizing pleomorphic adenoma [12] and a case of mucoepidermoid carcinoma involving peritoneal and pericardial fluid. [9],[13] However, this appears to be the first case report of metastatic SDC in pleural fluid.

SDC accounts for approximately 1.8% of all salivary tumors. [1],[2],[14] It is more common in men (8:1, male: female) between the ages of 60-80, though an age range of 22-91 has been reported. [1],[2],[14],[15] Most arise in the parotid gland (72-88%), but submandibular, sublingual, minor salivary gland, maxillary and laryngeal primaries have all been described. [1],[2],[14] The clinical presentation usually involves rapid growth of a painful mass with possible facial paralysis secondary to perineural invasion. [1] Treatment is primarily surgical, with radiation and chemotherapy playing a limited role. [14] Hormone therapy has not yet been shown to be effective. [16] Local recurrence occurs in one-third of patients. [1] Lymph node involvement in 56-60% of patients at initial presentation [1],[2],[15],[17] and distant metastases occur in 46% of patients. [1] The lung is a frequent site of metastatic disease, although lesions in liver, bone, thyroid, skin, vagina, brain and eye have also been described. [1],[4],[5],[6],[7] The 10-year mortality rate due to the tumor is 36-65% respectively. [1],[2],[14]

The cytologic characteristics of SDC on a fine-needle aspiration (FNA) specimen have been well-described, though the ability to adequately make the primary diagnosis on FNA alone is challenging. Hypercellular smears are often seen, with broad flat sheets, tightly-cohesive three-dimensional clusters, papillary fragments and rarely distinctive cribriform configurations. [3],[18] In general the cells are large and polygonal with eccentric round to oval nuclei, coarse chromatin, prominent nucleoli and mild to moderate nuclear atypia. A moderate to an abundant amount of vacuolated or oncocytic cytoplasm is seen. [3],[18] Some cases describe abundant mitoses, intranuclear cytoplasmic inclusions, squamoid cells and a background of necrosis. [3],[18]

The histologic similarity of SDC and ductal carcinoma of the mammary gland has been noted since the initial description in 1968 by Kleinsasser et al. [19] Cell blocks may show variable-sized nodules of epithelioid cells, arranged in a cribriform pattern with central comedonecrosis. Solid, cystic or papillary architecture may also be seen. [2],[19] Rarely, spindle cell or sarcomatoid growth patterns, mucin-rich variants, squamous metaplasia, or micropapillary features can be observed. [1],[2] The tumor can present in a background of a pleomorphic adenoma in approximately 20% of cases. [1],[2],[20]

The differential diagnosis on FNA can include high grade mucoepidermoid carcinoma or acinic cell carcinoma, as well as oncocytic neoplasms. [18] Metastatic breast carcinoma should always be ruled out, as the two entities are so alike. [1] Other metastatic adenocarcinomas or squamous cell carcinoma may also be considered, if the lesion is poorly differentiated or lacks the characteristic cribriform pattern.

SDC tends to stain positive for epithelial markers (BerEp4, MOC31, low and high molecular weight cytokeratins) and negative for mucicarmine. These results should prompt closer assessment of the specimen and clinical history to elicit the location of a primary malignancy. Confirmation of the diagnosis can be achieved with special stains. HER2/neu is positive in most SDC's (47-67% of cases), with overexpression in approximately 20% of patients. [1],[2],[17],[21] Other predominately positive stains include AR, prostate specific antigen, prostatic acid phosphatase, GCDFP-15, p53 and p16. [1],[2],[3],[17],[21],[22] Cytoplasmic staining for mucin is rare and helps exclude mucoepidermoid carcinoma. Negative stains include myoepithelial markers and ER and PR, which aids in distinguishing it from breast carcinoma. [1],[2],[3],[17],[21]

 » Summary Top

Given the propensity of SDC to metastasize to the lung, the paucity of case reports describing pleural fluid involvement is unexpected. Considerations for the rarity of this finding may include the aggressive nature of the disease, a low clinical yield of performing thoracentesis, or possibly a strong cohesive nature of the malignant cells. A similar behavioral pattern can be seen in other tumors such as squamous cell carcinoma or other salivary gland tumors, which may involve lung parenchyma but not the pleura. The cohesive nature of these cells may discourage metastases to body fluids, when compared to the often discohesive appearance of lobular breast carcinoma, adenocarcinomas and lymphoproliferative lesions. Elements of this case which contributed to the diagnostic material stem from the patient's length of disease and the significant lung involvement seen on imaging, as well as the recent disruption of lung parenchyma by cryoablation. Our case illustrates an unusual spread of SDC into the pleural fluid and highlights the challenges in rendering a diagnosis of metastatic SDC on a cytology specimen.

 » Competing Interests Statement by all Authors Top

The author (s) declare that they have no competing interests.

 » Authorship Statement by all Authors Top

All authors of this article declare that we qualify for authorship as defined by ICMJE http://www.icmje.org/#author. Each author has participated sufficiently in the work and takes public responsibility for appropriate portions of the content of this article. JH, pathology resident, collected all the data, participated in cytological evaluation and drafted the manuscript. RC, cytopathology fellow, performed cytologic evaluation and manuscript review. SH performed cytologic evaluation and manuscript review. NAM performed conceptual organization, cytological-histological evaluation, drafted and reviewed the manuscript. All authors have read and approved the final manuscript.

 » Ethics Statement by all Authors Top

As this is a case report without patient identifiers, approval from the Institutional Review Board (IRB) is not required at our institution.

 » References Top

1.Brandwein-Gensler MS, Skalova A, Nagao T. Salivary duct carcinoma. In: Barnes L, Eveson JW, Reichart P, Sidransky D, editors. World Health Organization Classification of Tumors: Pathology and Genetics of Head and Neck Tumors. Lyon: IARC Press; 2005. p. 236-7.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.McHugh JB, Visscher DW, Barnes EL. Update on selected salivary gland neoplasms. Arch Pathol Lab Med 2009;133:1763-74.  Back to cited text no. 2
3.DeMay RM. The Art and Science of Cytopathology. 2 nd ed. Chicago: ASCP Press; 2012.  Back to cited text no. 3
4.Bernabé DG, Veronese LA, Miyahara GI, Conrado-Neto S, Biasoli ER. Gingival metastasis from salivary duct carcinoma of the parotid gland. J Periodontol 2008;79:748-52.  Back to cited text no. 4
5.Parikh JG, Burnstine MA, Kase S, Rao NA. Salivary duct carcinoma metastatic to eyelid and orbit-a case report. Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol 2008;246:1185-8.  Back to cited text no. 5
6.Gabril MY, Yousef GM. Salivary duct carcinoma presenting with vaginal metastasis: Case report. Eur J Gynaecol Oncol 2007;28:415-7.  Back to cited text no. 6
7.Bhalla R, Parker DC, Tadros TS. Salivary duct carcinoma metastatic to inguinal lymph node: A case report of salivary duct carcinoma with distant metastasis diagnosed by fine-needle aspiration. Diagn Cytopathol 2006;34:41-4.  Back to cited text no. 7
8.Sears D, Hajdu SI. The cytologic diagnosis of malignant neoplasms in pleural and peritoneal effusions. Acta Cytol 1987;31:85-97.  Back to cited text no. 8
9.Monaco SE, Khalbuss WE, Ustinova E, Liang A, Cai G. The cytomorphologic spectrum of salivary gland type tumors in the lung and mediastinum: A report of 16 patients. Diagn Cytopathol 2012;40:1062-70.  Back to cited text no. 9
10.Torre W, Comellas M, Cuesta M. Massive pleural effusion as isolated manifestation of metastatic spread of salivary adenoid cystic carcinoma. Respir Med 1997;91:169-70.  Back to cited text no. 10
11.Florentine BD, Fink T, Avidan S, Braslavsky D, Raza A, Cobb CJ. Extra-salivary gland presentations of adenoid cystic carcinoma: A report of three cases. Diagn Cytopathol 2006;34:491-4.  Back to cited text no. 11
12.Zhang Y, Gomez-Fernandez CR, Jorda M, Ganjei-Azar P. Fine-needle aspiration (FNA) and pleural fluid cytology diagnosis of benign metastasizing pleomorphic adenoma of the parotid gland in the lung: A case report and review of literature. Diagn Cytopathol 2009;37:828-31.  Back to cited text no. 12
13.Buyukkurt S, Altintas A, Gumurdulu D, Zeren H, Guzel B. Mucoepidermoid carcinoma of the parotid gland with ovarian and peritoneal metastasis. J Obstet Gynaecol Res 2008;34:271-3.  Back to cited text no. 13
14.Jayaprakash V, Merzianu M, Warren GW, Arshad H, Hicks WL Jr, Rigual NR, et al. Survival rates and prognostic factors for infiltrating salivary duct carcinoma: Analysis of 228 cases from the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results database. Head Neck 2013. Available from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/hed. 23350/abstract; jsessionid = 5A251B1D116C3162150C7482DB9537F8.f04t01. [Last accessed on 2013 Dec 26].  Back to cited text no. 14
15.SEER Cancer Statistics Review 1975-2010. Available from: http://www.seer.cancer.gov/csr/1975_2010/browse_csr.php?section=20 and page=sect_20_table. 28.html. [Last accessed on 2013 Dec 26].  Back to cited text no. 15
16.Jamal AM, Sun ZJ, Chen XM, Zhao YF. Salivary duct carcinoma of the parotid gland: Case report and review of the literature. J Oral Maxillofac Surg 2008;66:1708-13.  Back to cited text no. 16
17.Jaehne M, Roeser K, Jaekel T, Schepers JD, Albert N, Löning T. Clinical and immunohistologic typing of salivary duct carcinoma: A report of 50 cases. Cancer 2005;103:2526-33.  Back to cited text no. 17
18.Rajesh NG, Prayaga AK, Sundaram C. Salivary duct carcinoma: Correlation of morphologic features by fine needle aspiration cytology and histopathology. Indian J Pathol Microbiol 2011;54:37-41.  Back to cited text no. 18
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  
19.Kleinsasser O, Klein HJ, Hübner G. Salivary duct carcinoma. A group of salivary gland tumors analogous to mammary duct carcinoma. Arch Klin Exp Ohren Nasen Kehlkopfheilkd 1968;192:100-5.  Back to cited text no. 19
20.Yamada S, Nabeshima A, Tabata T, Guo X, Tasaki T, Wang KY, et al. Invasive salivary duct carcinoma ex pleomorphic adenoma of the parotid gland: A teaching case giving rise to the genuine diagnostic difficulty on an inadequate cytology specimen. Diagn Pathol 2012;7:61.  Back to cited text no. 20
21.Nagao T, Sato E, Inoue R, Oshiro H, H Takahashi R, Nagai T, et al. Immunohistochemical analysis of salivary gland tumors: Application for surgical pathology practice. Acta Histochem Cytochem 2012;45:269-82.  Back to cited text no. 21
22.Fan CY, Wang J, Barnes EL. Expression of androgen receptor and prostatic specific markers in salivary duct carcinoma: An immunohistochemical analysis of 13 cases and review of the literature. Am J Surg Pathol 2000;24:579-86.  Back to cited text no. 22


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3]


Previous article Next article


  Site Map | Copyright and Disclaimer
© 2007 - CytoJournal | A journal by Cytopathology Foundation Inc with Wolters Kluwer - Medknow
New version online since 1st July '08
Open Access