Malignant carotid body tumor: A case report

Alberto Dias Da Silva*, Sean O'Donnell, David Gillespie, James Goff, Craig Shriver, Norman Rich

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Carotid body tumors (CBTs) have an unpredictable history with no correlation between histology and clinical behavior. Of reported cases since 1891, local and distant metastases appear in approximately 10% of cases and remain the hallmark of malignancy. Currently, there are not enough data to support a single treatment regimen for malignant CBTs. The reported case demonstrates some unanswered issues with regard to malignant CBTs to include lymph node dissection, the need for carotid resection, and the role of radiation therapy. A 46-year-old pathologist underwent a resection of a Shamblin I CBT, to include jugular lymph node sampling, without complication. There was lymph node involvement, and tumor cells were found on the margins of the pathologic specimen. Subsequent carotid resection with reversed interposition saphenous vein graft and modified neck dissection were performed again without complication. Follow-up at 4 years has been uneventful. Diagnosis of CBTs with the use of magnetic resonance angiography, magnetic resonance imaging, color flow duplex scanning, and the role of arteriography are reviewed. The current treatment options are discussed with reference to primary lymph node sampling, carotid resection, and neck dissection in malignant cases. This case demonstrates that the unpredictable nature of CBTs and their malignant potential warrant aggressive initial local treatment to include jugular lymph node sampling and complete tumor resection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)821-823
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Vascular Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


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