Renal cell carcinoma metastatic to the sinonasal cavity: A review and report of 8 cases | Ear, Nose & Throat Journal Skip to content Skip to navigation

Renal cell carcinoma metastatic to the sinonasal cavity: A review and report of 8 cases

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September 27, 2018
by Pierre-Louis Bastier, MD; Dorothee Dunion, MD; Guillaume de Bonnecaze, MD; Elie Serrano, MD, PhD; Ludovic de Gabory, MD, PhD


Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) metastatic in the sinonasal cavity is rare. In many cases, it represents the initial presentation of RCC. We conducted a retrospective chart review to report the clinical presentation, imaging, and treatment of RCC metastases in the sinonasal cavity at two tertiary care referral centers. Our population was made up of 8 patients-6 men and 2 women, aged 55 to 86 years (mean: 66.9; median: 63.5)-who had been diagnosed with cancer in the sinonasal cavity. The most common complaints were epistaxis, nasal obstruction, and diplopia. Cancers were located in the ethmoid sinus (n = 3), nasal cavity (n = 2), sphenoid sinus (n = 2), and maxillary sinus (n = 1). Local treatment involved resection and adjuvant radiotherapy in 4 patients, surgery alone in 2 patients, and radiotherapy alone in the other 2. The lesion was embolized before surgery in 4 cases. We also performed a critical review of similar published cases. Our literature review covered 53 cases of RCC metastatic to the sinonasal cavity, including ours. Metastases were the first presentation of RCC in 24 of these cases (45.3%); in our series, the metastases led to the diagnosis of the primary RCC in 3 cases (37.5%). In the 53 reported cases, metastatic resection was performed on 35 patients (66.0%). Survival data were available for 22 of these operated patients, and 17 of them achieved a complete local response. Adjunctive radiotherapy was not associated with a better local response. Overall survival was significantly better in patients who had an isolated metastasis rather than multiple metastases (p = 0.013). There was no difference in overall survival between patients whose metastasis represented the initial presentation of RCC and those whose metastasis did not (p = 0.95). We recommend that sinonasal metastasis be suspected in the event of unilateral nasal bleeding or nasal obstruction in patients diagnosed with RCC. Embolization may prevent abundant bleeding during removal. Surgery may improve the quality of life of these patients while decreasing nasal obstruction and bleeding.

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