Sinonasal Adenocarcinoma (Sinus Tumor)

Sinonasal Adenocarcinoma

Sinonasal adenocarcinoma is a rare type of cancer that forms in the air-filled spaces—the maxillary, ethmoid, frontal and sphenoid sinuses—located in the nasal cavity behind the nose.

Because the sinuses are located near the brain, removing tumors from these areas can be challenging. However, the highly skilled surgeons at Tampa General Hospital’s Neuroscience Institute and Ear, Nose and Throat Institute treat sinonasal adenocarcinoma and other types of skull base tumors regularly. Our expertise has helped Tampa General Hospital be recognized by U.S. News & World Report as a hospital in the top 10% in the nation for Neurology & Neurosurgery in 2023-24.

Sinonasal Adenocarcinoma Causes

What causes sinus tumors can vary. Oftentimes, there is no clear cause to pinpoint. However, risk factors and links to sinonasal adenocarcinoma can include:

  • Inherited genetic mutations
  • First and second-hand tobacco smoke
  • Air pollution
  • Long-term exposure to irritants such as wood, flour and metallic dusts, glue fumes and other chemicals
  • HPV infection

Symptoms of Sinonasal Adenocarcinoma

Sinonasal tumors are often difficult to diagnose because symptoms can be vague, similar to the common cold or nonexistent. When symptoms are present, they may include:

  • Nasal discharge or post-nasal drip
  • Nasal obstruction
  • Nasal congestion
  • Nosebleeds
  • Headache or sinus pain
  • Facial swelling
  • Facial numbness
  • A feeling of pain or pressure in the ears
  • Loss of or changes in vision
  • Neurologic symptoms

Diagnosing Sinonasal Adenocarcinoma

Diagnosing sinus cancer typically begins with a medical history and physical exam by an otolaryngologist—a doctor who specializes in ear, nose and throat diseases. During the examination, an endoscope (a thin, small tube with a camera and a light) is inserted into the nostril to check the nasal passages and the rest of the head and neck. The tongue, mouth, throat and nose areas are also examined.

Other diagnostic tests and imaging may also be performed and can include:

  • Blood tests
  • Hearing tests
  • CT scan
  • PET scan
  • MRI
  • Biopsy

Treatments for Sinonasal Adenocarcinoma

Treating sinonasal adenocarcinoma usually involves skull base surgery. For some patients, a combination of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy may be recommended. While the removal of sinonasal tumors is the main goal, certain tumors can cause facial disfigurement. Microvascular free flap reconstruction, plastic surgery and other procedures may be necessary to help address these situations.

Become a Patient

Tampa General Hospital’s neurosurgeons, ENT surgeons and many other specialists are internationally known for their skill and expertise in both endoscopic and traditional approaches to skull base surgery. At the TGH Skull Base Surgery Center, we diagnose and treat all forms of skull base conditions, including sinus tumors. In affiliation with the University of South Florida, our team has been recognized as a Multidisciplinary Team of Distinction by the North American Skull Base Society.

If you think you or a loved one may have sinonasal adenocarcinoma or want to get a second opinion on a recent diagnosis, contact us at (800) 822-3627.

Take the Next Step

Learn more about Tampa General Hospital’s Skull Base Surgery Center and find out if our approach to care is right for you.