• Vol. 27 No. 6, 800–804
  • 15 November 1998

Computed Tomographic and Magnetic Resonance Imaging Findings in Paranasal Sinus Involvement in Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma



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Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) may spread to the paranasal sinuses. This retrospective study describes the features of paranasal sinus involvement in NPC on computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). One hundred and fourteen patients with histologically proven NPC underwent staging with both CT and MRI. Maxillary sinus infiltration was demonstrated on MRI in 10 patients; sphenoid sinus infiltration in 24 patients; and, ethmoid sinus involvement in 4 patients. CT could separate inflammatory changes from tumour in all maxillary sinuses but is less helpful in the sphenoid and ethmoid sinuses. Contrast-enhanced MRI could differentiate tumour from inflammatory changes in all sinuses. Using MRI as the standard, the rates of CT separating tumour from inflammation are: maxillary sinus (100%), sphenoid sinus (43%) and ethmoid sinus (25%). Histological confirmation of tumour involvement in the paranasal sinuses is not available. It is important to separate sinusitis from tumour infiltration as prognosis and treatment planning may be affected.

Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is an aggressive infiltrative neoplasm. Spread into the paranasal sinuses is often seen but the frequency is documented in only a few series.

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