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April 1990

Carotid Body Paragangliomas: A Clinicopathologic and DNA Analysis of 13 Tumors

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Pathology, Presbyterian-University Hospital (Dr Barnes); Eye and Ear Hospital of Pittsburgh (Dr Barnes); and Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine (Dr Taylor), Pittsburgh, Pa.

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1990;116(4):447-453. doi:10.1001/archotol.1990.01870040069016

• The clinical and pathological features of 13 carotid body paragangliomas from 12 patients were examined and correlated with the DNA ploidy pattern as determined by image analysis. These tumors occurred in 7 women and 5 men aged 19 to 62 years (average, 42 years). All presented with a slowly enlarging, usually asymptomatic mass of 2 weeks' to 25 years' duration. Two patients were related and had a family history of paragangliomas. The tumors ranged from 2 to 6 cm. All contained scattered chief cells with pleomorphic nuclei, two exhibited mitoses, and three showed perineural and three vascular invasion. Follow-up was available in all 12 patients and ranged from 15 months to 28 years (average, 7.3 years). None of the tumors recurred locally, but one did metastasize to a single cervical lymph node that was apparent at the time of diagnosis. Of 13 carotid body paragangliomas examined for DNA, 4 were diploid, 3 diploid-tetraploid, 3 tetraploid, 2 aneuploid, and 1 polyploid. The only malignant tumor was polyploid. From these observations, we conclude that abnormalities in DNA content of carotid body paragangliomas are common and that tumor ploidy cannot be used to assess malignant potential. We also found no apparent relationship among nuclear pleomorphism, mitotic activity, perineural invasion, or vascular invasion and clinical behavior. Perineural and vascular invasion, however, were observed only in tumors with abnormal DNA histograms.

(Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1990;116:447-453)