Ethmoidal malignant tumors, for which intensity-modulated radiotherapy is expected to improve outcome, consist of heterogeneous pathological types. Reports about their outcome are influenced by the inclusion of favorable histology, such as adenocarcinoma and adenoid cystic carcinoma. We investigated the long-term treatment outcome of squamous cell carcinoma and undifferentiated carcinoma of the ethmoid sinus.MATERIALS AND METHODS
Between August 1976 and April 2002, 25 patients (20 squamous cell carcinomas and five undifferentiated carcinomas) received radical radiotherapy or preoperative radiotherapy in our institution. One (4%) had stage T2 disease, seven (28%) had stage T3, three (12%) had stage T4a, and 14 (56%) had stage T4b. Surgery was performed in 13 patients. Radiation dose varied from 50.4 Gy in 16 fractions (50.4 Gy/16 Fr) to 65 Gy in 26 fractions with or without stereotactic boost irradiation. Eleven patients received chemotherapy consisting mainly of platinum-based compounds.RESULTS
The 3- and 5-year overall survival rates for all 25 patients were 34% (95% confidence interval [Cl]: 14%–54%) and 24% (Cl: 6%–42%), respectively. The 3- or 5-year local progression-free rates for all patients were 48.9% and 36.7%, respectively. Visual acuity of a single eye was impaired in three patients and was lost in five patients as a result of tumor progression, but no patient had visual impairment or loss due to radiotherapy.CONCLUSION
Ethmoid squamous cell carcinoma or undifferentiated carcinoma was diagnosed at advanced T stages and was treated with radiotherapy; these patients had a poorer outcome than patients with adenocarcinoma or adenoid cystic carcinoma. Prospective trials using advanced technology should be carefully compared with historical controls because pathological types can considerably influence the treatment results.