Head and Neck Pathology

Mucous Cell
Breakapart MAML2 FISH showing a positive (split) signal in a mucous cell (unfiltered overlay with autofluorescence of mucus) of a low grade mucoepidermoid carcinoma.

Mission Statement

"Head and Neck Pathology is General Pathology above the clavicle."

                                 - Dr. E. Leon Barnes

The diversity of lesions per unit volume encountered at head and neck sites is arguably unparalleled.  The Head and Neck Pathology COE here at UPMC is responsible for a variety of both common and esoteric entities encompassing not only specialized sites such as salivary gland, sinonasal tract, and thyroid lesions, but also more universal considerations such as dermatologic, mesenchymal, and hematolymphoid processes (often in collaboration with the other corresponding COEs/Divisions).  

Our Mission includes:

  • Providing highly annotated, up-to-date diagnostic reports that comply with cutting edge standards including the latest CAP cancer protocols, WHO terminology, and AJCC Cancer Staging Manual (all of which had significant contributions from the Head and Neck Pathology Faculty)
  • Training fellows who are competent to enter either the academic or private sectors of medicine.
  • Promoting clinical and translational research that improves the understanding of a vast array of disease categories involving the head and neck.

Clinical Services

Head and Neck/Endocrine specimens are triaged from three institutions in the health system (UPMC Presbyterian, UPMC Shadyside and UPMC Magee-Womens) of which about 5000 are ENT/endocrine. About 1500 are consult cases. The ENT division also performs approximately 1100 intraoperative evaluations annually.

Research Activities

The Head and Neck/Endocrine Pathology COE runs the tissue core for the H&N SPORE and provides support for the H&N cancer research community at UPMC. Active areas of research by faculty include:

  • Squamous cell carcinoma variants
  • HPV and EBV driven carcinogenesis
  • Translocation associated salivary gland carcinomas
  • Immunophenotypic salivary and odontogenic differentiation markers
  • Molecular profiling of thyroid and parathyroid neoplasms

Teaching Activities

The philosophy of the Head and Neck/Endocrine COE is not one of didactics, but practical application. In other words - training, not lecturing. Basic lectures are however scheduled with resident weekly didactics.

Training Opportunities

Resident Rotation: 1st year - 3 weeks. 3rd and 4th year - 2 weeks.

Resident Senior Electives: 3rd and 4th year in-house – 2 weeks. Consult elective 4th year and fellows – 1 or 2 weeks.

Fellowship Training: 1 year offered to board certified/board eligible US and Canadian Anatomic Pathologists in an ACGME track. Follow this link to learn more about the Head and Neck/Endocrine Clinical Fellowship Program.