Lymphoepithelial Carcinoma of the Nasolacrimal Duct: Clinical, Radiologic, and Immunopathologic Features

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Undifferentiated lymphoepithelial carcinoma (exhibiting both begin lymphoid and malignant epithelial components) most commonly arises in the head and neck, especially in the nasopharynx. It may also be encountered in various ocular adnexal sites, including the nasolacrimal duct. A 63-year-old woman developed a swelling in the region of the right lacrimal sac accompanied by epiphora. CT scanning revealed an enlargement of the nasolacrimal duct from the lacrimal sac to the inferior nasal meatus. A biopsy during dacryocystorhinostomy for symptomatic epiphora revealed hypercellular sheets of small lymphocytes which were interpreted as evidence for a chronic dacryocystitis. Two years later the subtotally excised lesion had substantially grown in size. Repeat CT scans demonstrated an inferonasal anterior orbital mass with further enlargement of the nasolacrimal duct with a solid mass in its lumen, and bone erosion. The biopsy combined a rich background of lymphocytes within which were clusters of undifferentiated carcinoma cells that were cytokeratin and p63 positive. Critical review of the earlier biopsy led to the detection of the same cells, but in smaller numbers, that had been overlooked. An awareness of the possibility of lymphoepithelial carcinoma of the lacrimal sac/duct should improve diagnostic accuracy with the aid of immunohistochemistry. Radiation therapy is often successful in managing this highly sensitive malignant tumor.

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