Indian Journal of Nuclear Medicine
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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 30  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 248-250

Diagnostic dilemma involving a mass in the parapharyngeal space: A metastatic breast carcinoma masquerading as a malignant salivary gland tumor

1 Department of Pathology, Cancer Institute (WIA), Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Surgical Oncology, Cancer Institute (WIA), Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
3 Department of Preventive Oncology, Cancer Institute (WIA), Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Arvind Krishnamurthy
Cancer Institute (WIA), 38, Sardar Patel Road, Adyar, Chennai - 600 036, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0972-3919.158534

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Parapharyngeal space (PPS) tumors are rare and account for about 0.5% of all head and neck neoplasms. Most PPS tumors are benign (up to 80%) while the remaining 20% are malignant. These tumors are either primaries; most commonly arising from salivary glands or metastatic tumors or due to direct extension of tumors from the adjacent sites. Distant metastasis from breast cancers more commonly involves the lungs, bones, brain and liver. Metastasis to the PPS from a primary breast carcinoma is rare, with only one case reported in literature. We, to the best of our knowledge report the second case of a carcinoma breast metastasizing to the PPS and further discuss the diagnostic and therapeutic challenges involved in its management. A fluorine-18 fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography/computed tomography scan apart from explicitly defining the extent of the PPS tumor, majorly influenced the therapeutic decision making process by ruling out other sites of metastasis.

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