Combined-modality treatment improved outcome in sinonasal undifferentiated carcinoma: single-institutional experience of 21 patients and review of the literature

Abrahim Al-Mamgani, Peter Rooij, Robert Mehilal, Lisa Tans, Peter Levendag

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

69 Citations (Scopus)
13 Downloads (Pure)


The optimal treatment of sinonasal undifferentiated carcinoma (SNUC) remains unclear. We report our results on the outcome and toxicity of patients with SNUC treated by a combined modality and attempt to define the optimal treatment strategies by reviewing the literature. Between 1996 and 2010, 21 consecutive patients with SNUC were treated by any combination of surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. End points were local control (LC), regional control (RC), disease-free (DFS), cause-specific (CSS) overall survival (OS), and late toxicity. Organ preservation was defined as visual preservation without orbital exenteration. After median follow-up of 54 months, the 5-year actuarial rates of LC, RC, DFS, CSS, and OS were 80, 90, 64, 74, and 74 % respectively. On multivariate analysis, T-stage and multimodality treatment approach correlated significantly with LC. Elective nodal irradiation was given to 42 % of high-risk node-negative patients. None of them developed regional failure. The overall 5-year incidence of grade a parts per thousand yen2 late toxicity was 30 %. Treatment-related blindness was significantly decreased in patients treated with intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT), compared to 2D and 3D-conformal radiotherapy (3DCRT), with organ preservation rates of 86 and 14 % respectively (p = 0.006). We concluded that combined-modality treatment with three, or at least two, modalities resulted in good LC, but with high overall rate of late toxicity. However, the incidence of late toxicity and permanent visual impairment were decreased over time by the introduction of IMRT. Because of the improvement in therapeutic ratio achieved by using IMRT, this highly conformal radiation technique should be the standard of care in patients with SNUC.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)293-299
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Research programs

  • EMC MM-03-32-04

Cite this