Surgical Salvage After Failed Radiation for Paranasal Sinus Malignancy

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To comment on the role of surgical salvage following failed initial treatment for paranasal sinus malignancy.


A retrospective analysis of one hundred eighty patients treated at The Princess Margaret Hospital, Toronto, from 1976 to 1993.

Materials and Methods:

Thirty-four of 95 patients (36%) who failed initial treatment underwent surgical salvage. Initial therapy in this group was radiation only (n = 27) and combined therapy (n = 7). Patient, tumor, and surgical data were recorded. There were 23 T4, three T3, six T2, and two T1 carcinomas. Survival, recurrence rates, and the influence of a variety of variables on outcome were analyzed.


Two- and 5-year overall actuarial survival calculated from the date of diagnosis was 54% and 35%, respectively. Two- and 5-year overall actuarial survival calculated from the date of salvage surgery was 44% and 22%, respectively. Advanced age (P < .004), patients with T4 category disease (P < .04), and squamous cell carcinomas (P < .049) correlated with poorer outcome on univariate analysis. Local failure was the most common cause of death (n = 13; 65%).


Salvage surgery has a limited role in the management of persistent or progressive disease following failure of initial treatment. Careful postradiation surveillance with endoscopic biopsy under general anesthesia and immediate surgical resection when appropriate may improve the salvage rate.

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