An unusual presentation of NK/T-cell lymphoma, nasal-type in the United States

Sarah M. Kidwai, Arjun K. Parasher, Fred Y. Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Introduction NK/T-cell lymphoma (NKCL), nasal-type is rare in the United States, representing only 1.5% of non-Hodgkin lymphomas. Classically, patients initially present with nasal obstruction (70%), caused by invasion of the localized lesion into the sinuses and nasal cavities. Initial presentation with persistent sore throat and odynophagia due to oropharyngeal tumor extension is rare, and thus, is often overlooked as viral or bacterial pharyngitis. By studying a case of NKTCL nasal type, we emphasize the need to apply high clinical suspicion for NKTCL, nasal type for early diagnosis and improved survival. Methods A case report of a rare presentation of NKTCL, nasal-type is discussed. A literature review is provided to define clinical signs crucial for early diagnosis, appropriate work-up, and expedient treatment of this aggressive, rapidly progressive malignancy. Results In the present case, a 25 year-old healthy male presented with a 2-week history of sore throat and odynophagia. On exam, the patient had an ulcerative lesion of the soft palate, an enlarged uvula, and tonsillar exudate with tender submandibular lymphadenopathy. After the patient failed to respond to antibiotic therapy for presumptive pharyngitis, a biopsy of the oropharyngeal tissue was completed, which identified necrotizing sialometaplasia. High clinical suspicion led to repeat deep-tissue biopsy, where a final diagnosis of NKTCL, nasal type was made. The patient then began definitive treatment with chemotherapy and radiation. Conclusions High clinical suspicion is key to early diagnosis and improved survival of NKTCL, nasal-type. Otolaryngologists who encounter prolonged, complicated cases of pharyngitis or necrotizing sialometaplasia should consider a diagnosis of NKTCL, nasal-type, in order to prevent rapid disease progression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-83
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Medicine and Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2015


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