Title

Syphilis of the oropharynx: Case series of "The Great Masquerader"

Document Type

Article

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection with various presentations. Although, oropharyngeal manifestations are known to occur, the purpose of this study is to present the first case series in which the lesions were initially mistaken for human-papillomavirus (HPV)-related oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC). METHODS: A multi-institutional retrospective review. RESULTS: Six cases of oropharyngeal syphilis were initially thought to be secondary to OPSCC due to presentation. Symptoms were vague and exam findings consisted of either a tonsillar or base of tongue mass, or lymphadenopathy. Biopsies were negative for OPSCC. Further workup diagnosed syphilis, with resolution of symptoms and lesions after antibiotic treatment. CONCLUSIONS: Head and neck manifestations of syphilis have been reported in the literature. However, this is the first series reporting on oropharyngeal syphilis masquerading as HPV-related OPSCC. Ultimately, otolaryngologists must maintain a high suspicion for syphilis in order to ensure prompt diagnosis and treatment.

Medical Subject Headings

Adult; Aged; Carcinoma, Squamous Cell; Diagnosis, Differential; Humans; Male; Middle Aged; Multicenter Studies as Topic; Oropharyngeal Neoplasms; Oropharynx; Papillomavirus Infections; Penicillins (administration & dosage); Retrospective Studies; Syphilis (diagnosis, drug therapy, microbiology, pathology); Syphilis Serodiagnosis; Tomography, X-Ray Computed; Treponema pallidum (isolation & purification)

Publication Date

3-1-2019

Publication Title

American journal of otolaryngology

E-ISSN

1532-818X

Volume

40

Issue

2

First Page

143

Last Page

146

PubMed ID

30661890

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

10.1016/j.amjoto.2019.01.005

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