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An Introductory Guide to Sinonasal Tumors

Sinonasal tumors, accounting for approximately three percent of all tumors of the upper respiratory tract, is a rare disorder that usually develops in the nasal cavity or nasal sinuses. Identifying the specific site of a sinonasal tumor is difficult because of the contiguity of nasal cavities with paranasal sinuses. A malignant sinonasal tumor is a cancerous growth inside sinus passage or nasal cavity, and it can invade healthy tissue and spread to distant parts. It may develop in any area inside the nose or sinuses, including the nerves, bones, blood vessels, and cartilages. If the condition is left unchecked, it may hamper the breathing and the senses of smell and vision.

Shedding more light on the subject, this blog provides an overview of the types of sinonasal tumors, its symptoms, and treatment. Let’s take a look.

Types of Sinonasal Tumors

Different types of tumors can form in the nose or sinuses. The list includes:

  • Melanoma
  • Esthesioneuroblastoma
  • Sinonasal Undifferentiated Carcinoma(SNUC)
  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Squamous cell carcinoma
  • Plasmacytoma
  • Inverted papillomas
  • Giant cell tumor
  • Metastatic carcinoma
  • Transitional cell carcinoma
  • Sarcomas
  • Adenoid cystic carcinoma
  • Lymphoma
  • Adenocarcinoma

Symptoms and Diagnosis

Individuals with sinonasal tumor often complaint of nasal obstruction, frequent nosebleeds, headache, nasal discharge and facial pain. In certain cases, the patient may also experience neurologic deficits and facial swelling, and possible changes in vision.

The diagnosis of sinonasal tumor starts with a thorough review of the patient’s medical history, which is followed by a physical examination. The doctor may also ask the patient to undergo MRI and/or CT scan to find the tumor and check for the presence of metastases.

NOTE: A biopsy is necessary for the final diagnosis of the disease.

Treatment Options

Radiation Therapy

To treat sinonasal tumors, doctors may prescribe a radiation therapy as a primary therapy, or as an adjunct to the surgery being done for tumor resection and getting negative margins. It is often the primary treatment for patients who might not be medically stable for surgery, or for tumors that are surgically unresectable.


If the tumor is advanced stage (T3 or T4), the doctor may recommend a combination of surgery and adjuvant therapy  that can be with or without chemotherapy. The therapy has a cytoreductive effect that relieves pain and is given to patients who have a high risk of recurrence, or in the case of extracapsular spread within the regional metastases.

Last Few Words

There are different treatment options for patients with sinonasal cancer, but majority of them have to undergo at minimum a biopsy for diagnosis and then depending on the type of tumor they may need surgery with postoperative radiation. The doctor plans the treatment on a case-by-case basis, depending on the extent and location of the tumor. If you are diagnosed with sinonasal tumor or have been experiencing any of the symptoms, get in touch with Dr. Kuperan at Houston Advanced Nose and Sinus. You may call us at 713-791-0700 or schedule an appointment by clicking here.

We’re here to help

If you are frustrated by frequent sinus infections, persistent nasal congestion, or other sinus symptoms, Dr. Arjuna Kuperan and the team at Houston Advanced Nose & Sinus can help. Contact us today with any questions or to schedule your consultation.

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