The neurosurgical management of sinonasal malignancies involving the anterior skull base: a 28-year experience at The MD Anderson Cancer Center

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  • 1 House Institute Foundation, Los Angeles, California;
  • | 2 Division of Oncology 2, Office of New Drugs, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Silver Spring, Maryland;
  • | 3 Department of Neurosurgery, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas; and
  • | 4 Department of Head and Neck Surgery, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas
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OBJECTIVE

Sinonasal malignancies that extend to the anterior skull base frequently require neurosurgical intervention. The development of techniques for craniofacial resection revolutionized the management of these neoplasms, but modern and long-term data are lacking, particularly those related to the incorporation of endoscopic techniques and novel adjuvant chemotherapeutics into management schema. The present study was performed to better define the utility of surgical management and to determine factors related to outcome.

METHODS

Patients who underwent surgery between 1993 and 2020 were included in this retrospective cohort study. Only patients with greater than 6 months of clinical and radiological follow-up were included. Outcome measures included progression, survival, and treatment-related complications.

RESULTS

Two hundred twenty-five patients were included. The mean clinical follow-up was 6.5 years. The most common histological diagnosis was olfactory neuroblastoma (33%). Overall, metastatic disease and brain invasion were present in 8% and 19% of patients, respectively, at the time of surgery. A lumbar drain was used in 54% of patients. When stratified by decade, higher-stage disease at surgery became more frequent over time (15% of patients had metastatic disease in the 3rd decade of the study period vs 4% in the 1st decade). Despite the inclusion of patients with progressively higher-stage disease, median overall survival (OS) remained stable in each decade at approximately 10 years (p = 0.16). OS was significantly worse in patients with brain invasion (p = 0.006) or metastasis at the time of surgery (p = 0.014). Complications occurred after 28% of operations, but typically resulted in no long-term negative sequelae. Use of a lumbar drain was a significant predictor of complications (p = 0.02). Permanent ophthalmological disabilities were observed after 4% of surgical procedures. One patient died during the perioperative period. Finally, major complications (Clavien-Dindo grade ≥ IIIb) decreased from 27% of patients in the 1st decade to 10% in the 3rd decade (p = 0.007).

CONCLUSIONS

The surgical management of sinonasal malignancies with anterior skull base involvement is effective and generally safe. Surgical management, however, is only one facet of the overall multimodal management paradigms created to optimize patient outcomes. Survival outcomes have remained stable despite more extensive disease at surgery in patients who have presented in recent decades. The safety of such surgery has improved over time owing to the incorporation of endoscopic surgical techniques and the avoidance of lumbar spinal drainage with open resection.

ABBREVIATIONS

OS = overall survival; PFS = progression-free survival.

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