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Nose and Sinus Cancers

Cancers on the outside skin of the nose are typically skin cancers, so see that section if you’re interested in learning more about cancers on the outside of the nose. This section covers cancers inside of the nose (the nasal cavity) and the paranasal sinuses (air-filled spaces in the head around the nasal cavity). These are called sinonasal cancers.

Of all sinonasal cancers, maxillary sinus cancers are the most common, followed closely by cancers of the nasal cavity and ethmoid sinus cancer. Sphenoid and frontal sinus cancers are extremely rare. Dulguerov P, Jacobsen MS, Allal AS, Lehmann W, Calcaterra T. Nasal and paranasal sinus carcinoma: are we making progress? A series of 220 patients and a systematic review. Cancer. 2001 Dec 15;92(12):3012-29. Most cancers in this region are squamous cell cancers. However, there are a number of tumors in this region that are benign (non-cancerous), including:

  • Papilloma
  • Pyogenic granuloma
  • Adenoma
  • Dermoid
  • Glioma
  • Fibroma
  • Osteoma
  • Chrondroma
  • Hemangioma
  • Neurofibroma
  • Lymphangioma

Technology has helped us diagnose these cancers better. Doctors can use nasal endoscopy (telescopes and cameras inside the nose) to see areas we can’t see just by looking in the front of the nose. Also, advances in MRI and CT scanning help us look at the anatomy inside the head much better. Finally, functional tests like PET scans may also help with diagnosis and extent of cancers in this region. We also have many more tools to treat cancers in this complex area, which has several important structures nearby.

Here are some facts about sinonasal cancers:

  • Are less than 1 percent of all cancers
  • Are approximately 3 percent of head and neck cancers
  • Age: Usually older than 45 years old
  • Race: Caucasians more than other races
  • Gender: Males more than females

Navigating sinonasal cancers

To learn more about a particular type of nose or sinus cancer, choose an article below.

Basics of Nose and Sinus Cancer

An overview of the basics of nose and sinus cancer.

Nasal Cancer

Nasal cancer begins inside the nose, in the nasal cavity. Explore this page to learn more about nasal cancer.

Sinus Cancer

Sinus cancer begins in the paranasal sinuses, the air-filled spaces inside the head. Explore this page to learn more about sinus cancer.

References

1 Dulguerov P, Jacobsen MS, Allal AS, Lehmann W, Calcaterra T. Nasal and paranasal sinus carcinoma: are we making progress? A series of 220 patients and a systematic review. Cancer. 2001 Dec 15;92(12):3012-29.

2 Leclerc A, Martinez Cortes M, Gérin M, Luce D, Brugère J. Sinonasal cancer and wood dust exposure: results from a case-control study. Am J Epidemiol. 1994 Aug 15;140(4):340-9.

3 Brinton LA, Blot WJ, Becker JA, Winn DM, Browder JP, Farmer Jr JC, Fraumeni Jr JF. A case-control study of cancers of the nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses. Am J Epidemiol. 1984 Jun;119(6):896-906.

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5 Spiro RH, Thaler HT, Hicks WF, Kher UA, Huvos AH, Strong EW. The importance of clinical staging of minor salivary gland carcinoma. Am J Surg. 1991 Oct;162(4):330-6.

6 Katz TS, Mendenhall WM, Morris CG, Amdur RJ, Hinerman RW, Villaret DB. Malignant tumors of the nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses. Head Neck. 2002 Sep;24(9):821-9.

7 Wieneke JA, Thompson LD, Wenig BM. Basaloid squamous cell carcinoma of the sinonasal tract. Cancer. 1999 Feb 15;85(4):841-54.

8 Marcus DM, Marcus RP, Prabhu RS, Owonikoko TK, Lawson DH, Switchenko J, Beitler JJ. Rising incidence of mucosal melanoma of the head and neck in the United States. J Skin Cancer. 2012;2012:231693. doi: 10.1155/2012/231693. Epub 2012 Dec 2.

9 Edge SB, et al. The AJCC Cancer Staging Manual – Seventh Edition. American Joint Committee on Cancer 2010. Chapter 9: Mucosal Melanoma of the Head and Neck.

10 Ejaz A, Wenig BM. Sinonasal undifferentiated carcinoma: clinical and pathologic features and a discussion on classification, cellular differentiation, and differential diagnosis. Adv Anat Pathol. 2005 May;12(3):134-43.

11 Perez-Ordonez B, Caruana SM, Huvos AG, Shah JP. Small cell neuroendocrine carcinoma of the nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses. Hum Pathol. 1998 Aug;29(8):826-32.

12 Spiro JD, Soo KC, Spiro RH. Nonsquamous cell malignant neoplasms of the nasal cavities and paranasal sinuses. Head Neck. 1995;17:114-118.

13 Al-Mamgani A, van Rooij P, Mehilal R, Tans L, Levendag PC. Combined-modality treatment improved outcome in sinonasal undifferentiated carcinoma: single-institutional experience of 21 patients and review of the literature. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2013;270(1):293-299. doi:10.1007/s00405-012-2008-5

14 Amin M, Edge S, Greene F, et al. (2017). AJCC Cancer Staging Manual, 8th ed. New York: Springer.

15 Chen AM, Daly ME, Bucci MK, et al. Carcinomas of the paranasal sinuses and nasal cavity treated with radiotherapy at a single institution over five decades: are we making improvement? Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2007;69(1):141-147. doi:10.1016/j.ijrobp.2007.02.031

16 Dirix P, Nuyts S, Geussens Y, et al. Malignancies of the nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses: long-term outcome with conventional or three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2007;69(4):1042-1050. doi:10.1016/j.ijrobp.2007.04.044

17 Dulguerov P, Jacobsen MS, Allal AS, Lehmann W, Calcaterra T. Nasal and paranasal sinus carcinoma: are we making progress? A series of 220 patients and a systematic review. Cancer. 2001;92(12):3012-3029. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11753979.

18 McLean JN, Nunley SR, Klass C, Moore C, Müller S, Johnstone PAS. Combined modality therapy of esthesioneuroblastoma. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2007;136(6):998-1002. doi:10.1016/j.otohns.2006.11.051

19 Mourad WF, Hauerstock D, Shourbaji RA, et al. Trimodality management of sinonasal undifferentiated carcinoma and review of the literature. Am J Clin Oncol. 2013;36(6):584-588. doi:10.1097/COC.0b013e31825eb3a5

20 Ock C-Y, Keam B, Kim TM, et al. Induction chemotherapy in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma of the paranasal sinus and nasal cavity: a role in organ preservation. Korean J Intern Med. 2016;31(3):570-578. doi:10.3904/kjim.2015.020

21 Porceddu S, Martin J, Shanker G, et al. Paranasal sinus tumors: Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute experience. Head Neck. 2004;26(4):322-330. doi:10.1002/hed.10388

22 Cohen, E. E., LaMonte, S. J., Erb, N. L., Beckman, K. L., Sadeghi, N. , Hutcheson, K. A., Stubblefield, M. D., Abbott, D. M., Fisher, P. S., Stein, K. D., Lyman, G. H. and Pratt‐Chapman, M. L. (2016), American Cancer Society Head and Neck Cancer Survivorship Care Guideline. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, 66: 203-239. doi:10.3322/caac.21343

23 Homer, J., F.R.C.S., Jones, N., F.R.C.S., & Bradley, P., F.R.C.S. (1997). The role of endoscopy in the management of nasal neoplasia. American Journal of Rhinology & Allergy, 11(1), 41-48. doi:10.2500/105065897781446757

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