As neuroendocrine carcinomas in the head and neck region are extremely rare, their clinicopathological characteristics remain largely unknown. Moreover, the 2005 World Health Organization classification criteria for head and neck carcinomas with neuroendocrine features have numerous limitations. Therefore, the clinicopathological features and patient outcomes of these tumors must be clarified.Methods
Between 2007 and 2012, we encountered nine cases of head and neck cancer involving a neuroendocrine carcinoma component. We investigated these tumors according to the 2010 World Health Organization classification criteria for neuroendocrine tumors, and their clinicopathological characteristics and clinical outcomes were examined.Results
Carcinomas with neuroendocrine features were found to have an aggressive clinical course, which corresponded with the Ki-67 index and mitotic count.Conclusions
Owing to the difficulty in appropriately diagnosing head and neck carcinomas with neuroendocrine features using the current classification system, a new classification system should be developed for use in these cases.