Help Interpreting Surgical Pathology Report

hunleyj Member Posts: 1
edited April 2017 in Head and Neck Cancer #1

Hello All, last week, I had a small mucoepidermoid Carcinoma excised from the left soft palate area. It was described as intermediate grade. The pathologist report came, and now I'm told even though surgical outcome was as clean as i could have hoped for, I'll need radiation. Here is what the surgical pathologists report said:


Submucosal Microscopic focus (< 1mm) of residual mucoepidermoid Carcinoma. 

Perineural invasion not identified

Squamous mucosa, submucosal nor salivary glands, scar and granulation tissue

Margins negative for tumor.



FS/DX:Circumferential and deep margins free of tumor. Scar, cannot exclude microscopic residual clusters of mucoepidermoid Carcinoma. Defer to permanents.

Does anyone know what "cannot exclude residual clusters..." means? I will ask the doctor next week,  I'm just curious now :)



  • SuzJ
    SuzJ Member Posts: 426 Member
    I'd hazard a guess that no one is comfortable saying anything,

    but I didnt want to leave you hanging.

    The best we can do, is exactly what you've probably done, google, google, and google some more...


    Good luck!

  • corleone
    corleone Member Posts: 312 Member
    My 2 cents

    They can’t check all the tissue under microscope (they only take samples from the tissue biopsy block). That means that in the remaining (not analyzed) block, even though macroscopically everything looks fine, they can’t exclude clusters (groups) of cancer cells. This is mainly for safety reasons; unfortunately cancer cells do not stick together, they tend to invade adjacent (and sometimes far away) tissues in unpredictable/disorganized manner.