Nasal cavity, paranasal sinuses, nasopharynx

Sinonasal adenocarcinoma


Last author update: 1 September 2013
Last staff update: 26 January 2023 (update in progress)

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PubMed Search: Sinonasal adenocarcinoma[TIAB]

Rifat Mannan, M.B.B.S., M.D.
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Cite this page: Mannan R. Adenocarcinoma-general. website. Accessed February 5th, 2023.
Definition / general
  • Relatively rare tumor composed of distinctly different morphologic subtypes with variable biologic behavior
  • Either salivary type or nonsalivary
  • Nonsalivary adenocarcinomas are either nonintestinal type or intestinal type, which are further subdivided into low grade or high grade (Head Neck Pathol 2007;1:38)
  • Adenoid cystic carcinoma usually occurs in maxillary sinus and nasal cavity (Ear Nose Throat J 2002;81:510)
  • Ethmoid sinus is the most common location (40%) for nonsalivary gland type adenocarcinoma, followed by nasal cavity (25%) and maxillary antrum (20%) (Head Neck Pathol 2007;1:38)
Clinical features
  • Usually nonspecific clinical findings that mimic benign conditions, including rhinorrhea, nasal obstruction, epistaxis
  • Often delayed due to location and nonspecific symptoms (Otolaryngol Clin North Am 2004;37:473)
  • Endoscopic examination usually negative - combination of CT and MRI is optimal
  • Biopsy for histologic confirmation
Prognostic factors
  • Salivary gland type adenocarcinoma: poor prognosis, patients usually die of local invasion with no metastasis
  • Intestinal type adenocarcinoma: usually advanced disease at presentation, poor prognosis
  • Low grade nonintestinal type adenocarcinoma: overall favorable outcome
  • Adequate surgical resection is usual treatment
  • Advanced stage disease is treated by surgery and radiation
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Salivary gland type:
    • Adenoid cystic carcinoma is the most common subtype, resembles tumor elsewhere
    • Nonsalivary adenocarcinomas are either nonintestinal or intestinal type, low grade or high grade
    • Intestinal type adenocarcinoma commonly resembles colonic adenocarcinoma
Microscopic (histologic) images

Images hosted on other servers:

Adenoid cystic carcinoma of nasal cavity

Low-grade mucoepidermoid carcinoma of nasal cavity

Intestinal-type adenocarcinoma and tumor

Intestinal-type adenocarcinoma, mucinous growth pattern

Low-grade non-intestinal adenocarcinomas

Tubulopapillary low-grade adenocarcinoma and tumor

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