Review of the histological classification of nasopharyngeal carcinoma

Zhi Li, Yong-sheng Zong

Abstract


Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is a tumor arising from the epithelial cells that cover the surface and line the nasopharynx. Regardless of geographic distribution, racial background and enigmatic etiology of NPC, A major problem has been the lack of a universally accepted system for histopathologic classification of NPC. To alleviate this problem, the World Health Organization (WHO) advocated a classification using the diagnostic designation of keratinizing squamous cell carcinoma and nonkeratinizing carcinoma since 1978, although this classification system has not been accepted worldwide. During the past 50 years, several NPC histological classifications have been published and adopted in clinic. As a high-incidence area of NPC, until new classification published in 2001, Chinese NPC classifications can not be very well to link with the international classifications of NPC, which makes great misunderstandings in international communication. Actually there is still a long way to go to reach the consensus on histological classification of NPC. This review will retrospectively link the difference of these systems.


Keywords


Nasopharyngeal carcinoma; Histological classification; Differentiation; Correlation

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15383/jnpc.15

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