The diagnosis of carcinoma of unknown primary in the head and neck is made when there is a metastasis but no primary lesion is identified after physical exam and diagnostic CT or MR imaging. PET/CT is the first step in searching for a primary lesion, followed by more invasive techniques such as endoscopy and surgery. Knowledge of the different tumor histologic types, preferential locations of nodal spread, imaging pitfalls, and other special considerations such as cystic metastases can be helpful in the ultimate identification of primary tumors, which leads to improved overall patient survival.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging