• intraepithelial papillary capillary loop;
  • microvascular density;
  • microvascular irregularities;
  • narrow-band imaging;
  • superficial-type pharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma

Fujii S, Yamazaki M, Muto M & Ochiai A (2010) Histopathology56, 510–522

Microvascular irregularities are associated with composition of squamous epithelial lesions and correlate with subepithelial invasion of superficial-type pharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma

Aims:  Superficial squamous epithelial lesions of the pharynx are increasingly recognized by architectural changes in the intraepithelial papillary capillary loop (IPCL) assessed by narrow-band imaging (NBI). The aim was to explore the histology of squamous epithelial precursor lesions and superficial-type pharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (STPSCC), including squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) in situ and early invasive SCC, by focusing on microvascular irregularities to investigate the composition of those lesions and to explore the pathological characteristics of STPSCCs.

Methods and results:  Several pathological factors including thickness of intraepithelial squamous cell carcinoma (IESCC) and tumour thickness and microvascular density (MVD) were examined in 104 STPSCCs from 69 patients. The results show that architectural change of IPCL was recognized in precursor lesions in parallel with architectural disturbance and cytological atypia for criteria of diagnosing dysplasia. In 104 STPSCCs, the MVD of IESCC was correlated with the thickness of IESCC (P = 0.0115). Moreover, invasive SCC showed significantly higher MVD of IESCC (P = 0.0078) and there was significant correlation between the thickness of IESCC and subepithelial invasion (P < 0.0001).

Conclusions:  Microvascular irregularities are an important pathological factor in carcinogenesis and early invasiveness of SCC of the pharynx.