Dermatomyositis (DM) is a rare disease with the clinical manifestation of weakness and pain of proximal muscles as well as lilac-coloured skin lesions. One fifth of the cases is associated with the occurrence of a malignant tumor disease. The aim of this study is to evaluate the relevance of DM as a paraneoplastic syndrome in head and neck cancer taken into account the current literature.
 After retrospective analysis of medical records of head-neck-cancer patients treated between 2008 and 2018, 8 patients with DM were detected: 4 patients with tonsil carcinoma, 1 patient with nasopharyngeal carcinoma, 1 patient carcinoma of the parotid gland and two patients with lymphoma. The diagnosis, therapy and treatment results of these cases are described. Furthermore, a selective analysis of the literature (pubmed) about DM with head-neck cancer was conducted. A total of 290 cases were identified: In 283 cases, the tumors were located in the nasopharynx, in five cases in the tonsil and in two cases in the hypopharynx.
 DM as a paraneoplastic syndrome of head and neck tumors is rare and more often associated with nasopharyngeal cancer and rarely with tonsil cancer. The clustering of DM with head and neck tumors regarding ethnicity (nasopharyngeal carcinoma – Asian origin, tonsillar carcinoma- Caucasian origin) might be due to the regional different incidences of these tumor entities.In patients with DM, especially in presence of cervical lymphadenopathy a tumor in the head and neck area should be evaluated. The course of tumor-associated DM is positively influenced by tumor therapy. The consistent therapy and monitoring of DM is fundamental for a successful tumor treatment as well.

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