Non‐Hodgkin's lymphoma of the sinonasal tract. A clinicopathologic and immunophenotypic study of 120 cases

Susan L. Abbondanzo, Bruce M. Wenig

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179 Scopus citations


Background. Non‐Hodgkin's lymphomas (NHLs) of the sinonasal tract are uncommon neoplasms that can be morphologically difficult to distinguish from destructive nonneoplastic processes or other malignant neoplasms in this site. Methods. From the files of the Otolaryngic Tumor Registry ‐ Armed Forces Institute of Pathology from 1965 to 1992, 120 cases of NHL involving the sinonasal tract were selected for which clinical records and paraffin‐embedded tissue blocks were available. The histologic features and immunophenotypic findings of each patient, were examined, and follow‐up data were obtained for 66 (55%). Results. The ratio of males to females was 1.35:1, and the ages ranged from 3 to 94 years (median, 59 years). Sixty percent of the cases of NHL occurred in the patients' sixth to eighth decades of life. Clinical presentations varied according to histologic type. The low grade lymphomas presented with a nasal cavity or paranasal sinus mass associated with obstructive symptoms. The high grade lymphomas were more likely to present with aggressive signs and symptoms including nonhealing ulcer, cranial nerve manifestations, facial swelling, epistaxis, or pain. Of note, the high grade B‐cell lymphomas tended to present with soft tissue or osseous destruction, particularly of the orbit with associated proptosis, whereas the T‐cell lymphomas were associated with nasal septal perforation and/or destruction. Sites of disease included the nasal cavity, one or more paranasal sinuses, or multiple regions within the sinonasal tract. Of patients who adequate follow‐up, nodal and extranodal dissemination were identified in a limited number (n = 11). Nodal dissemination occurred in cervical and axillary lymph nodes. Extranodal sites of involvement included the larynx, skin, liver, uvula, kidney, breast, lacrimal gland, testis, and prostate gland. There was a wide spectrum of morphologic types of lymphoma, classified according to the Working Formulation. Immunophenotypic analysis on paraffin embedded tissue sections of all patients demonstrated a B‐cell to T‐cell ratio of 1.18:1. Treatment primarily included radiotherapy and chemotherapy. Follow‐up information was available for 66 (55%) patients ranging from 1 to 16 years (median, 3 years). Of these 66 patients, 24 (36.4%) died of disease, 17 (25.7%) are alive without disease, 13 (19.7%) are alive with disease, and 12 (18.2%) are dead of unrelated or unknown causes. Conclusions. Non‐Hodgkin's lymphomas of the sinonasal tract are heterogeneous diseases that can be clinically aggressive. The frequency of these lymphomas in the United States cannot be estimated accurately because all of our cases were of histologic slides submitted for consultations. There appears, however, to be a slight B‐cell predominance in this population that previously has been observed, unlike in South America and Asia where the majority of cases have a T‐cell phenotype. Cancer 1995;75:1281‐91.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1281-1291
Number of pages11
Issue number6
StatePublished - 15 Mar 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • extranodal lymphoma
  • immunophenotype
  • non‐Hodgkin's lymphoma
  • sinonasal tract


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