Imaging characteristics of primary laryngeal lymphoma

N. A. Siddiqui, Barton F. Branstetter IV, B. E. Hamilton, L. E. Ginsberg, C. M. Glastonbury, H. R. Harnsberger, E. L. Barnes, E. N. Myers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: The larynx is a rare site for primary NHL. Fewer than 100 cases have been reported in the literature, with the largest imaging review involving only 4 patients. We describe the findings of laryngeal lymphoma on CT, PET, and MR imaging and identify features that may distinguish laryngeal lymphoma from the far more common laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Multi-institutional retrospective chart review revealed 20 patients with histopathologically proved laryngeal lymphoma. Pretreatment CT, PET, and MR images were reviewed by a head and neck radiologist, focusing on extent of tumor, cervical lymph node involvement, and enhancement patterns. RESULTS: Patients ranged from 30 to 90 years of age with a mean of 63 years at the time of initial diagnosis and a 2:1 female predominance. The average tumor size was 37 ± 19 mm. In all patients, laryngeal lymphoma involved the supraglottis but also extended into the glottis (65%) and hypopharynx (60%). The subglottis was less frequently involved (35%). Laryngeal cartilage invasion and cervical lymphadenopathy were each seen in 20% of patients. Lymphoma was consistently FDG-avid (100%) and usually enhanced uniformly with iodinated contrast (73%). Necrosis and calcification were not seen in any cases. CONCLUSIONS: Although laryngeal lymphoma is rare, particular imaging features suggest this diagnosis. A large uniformly enhancing supraglottic tumor without central necrosis and without cervical lymphadenopathy is a characteristic finding of lymphoma. Similar to squamous cell carcinoma, lymphoma may extend into the subglottis, pharynx, and laryngeal cartilages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1261-1265
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Neuroradiology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Aug 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Clinical Neurology


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