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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 27  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 144-146

Carcinoma of unknown primary: An early cancer with metastasis for epidemiological purposes?

1 Department of Hospital Cancer Registry, Dr. B Borooah Cancer Institute, Gopinath Nagar, Guwahati, India
2 Department of Pathology, Dr. B Borooah Cancer Institute, Gopinath Nagar, Guwahati, India
3 Department of Head and Neck Oncology, Dr. B Borooah Cancer Institute, Gopinath Nagar, Guwahati, India

Correspondence Address:
Manigreeva Krishnatreya
Room No. 32, OPD Block, Dr. B Borooah Cancer Institute, Guwahati - 781 016
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0972-4958.121596

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Background: The data set of carcinoma of unknown primary (CUP) is not used for analyzing the burden and pattern of cancer in a given population. Aim: A retrospective analysis of the cancer registry data was done to see whether CUP can be utilized in the analysis of the burden of cancer in a given population. Materials and Methods: The data of CUP were obtained from the records of a hospital cancer registry of a regional cancer center from January 2010 to December 2011. The cases of CUP considered for the analysis were histologically confirmed malignancies with unknown primary. Results: CUP accounted for 4.5% of all cancers in our analysis. Squamous carcinoma was the major histological type (58%), with the following clinical entities observed in our analysis: CUP of the lymph nodes in 62.4%, of the liver in 21.2%, of the bone in 8.8%, of the peritoneal cavity in 2.7%, of the lung in 1.9%, of the pleural effusion in 1.4%, of the brain in 0.5%, of the ovary in 0.53%, and to the skin in 0.2% patients. The occurrence of CUP in relative proportion for both males and females showed that the majority (60%) of the clinical entity of CUP was seen at the supraclavicular lymph nodes, where a large proportion of cancers were of the head and neck region. Conclusion: The data of CUP to the regional lymph nodes in the head and neck region, though not specific, can be taken into account for the estimation of burden of head and neck cancer in populations with a high incidence of head and neck cancers, which will prevent the underestimation of actual burden of head and neck cancers of the population for advocacy and policy making by the health planners.

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