Sinus/Nasal Tumours

Tumours of the nose and sinuses are not common. They may present with similar symptoms to causes of sinonasal disease, eg, nasal polyps, rhinitis, nosebleeds and so can be difficult to diagnose by your GP.

They can cause nasal blockage, nose bleeds (epistaxis), and pain. They may also cause symptoms related to adjacent structures (eg, eye, brain) if they become involved.



The most common tumours of the sinuses are benign bony tumours called osteomas. In many cases, they are small and people may not be aware of them. They usually only cause symptoms if they are large enough to block off sinus drainage pathways, and cause sinusitis symptoms.

If this does happen, surgery my be needed to remove the osteoma and re-establish normal sinus drainage.


Inverted papilloma

Inverted papillomas (IPs) are the most common soft tissue tumour. They may be mistaken for nasal polyps. A biopsy (removing the polyp) and an examination under the microscope by a pathologist will confirm the diagnosis.

A small proportion of IPs can undergo malignant change into squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs). For this reason, and because IPs have the potential to come back, it is important to keep a close eye on patients even after the initial surgery.


Malignant sinonasal tumours

Malignant tumours of the nose, sinuses and anterior skullbase are uncommon.

Examples include squamous cell carcinomas and adenocarcinomas. Olfactory neuroblastomas, and meningiomas involve the skullbase region – removal of these require special techniques to repair the skullbase to keep the contents of the cranial cavity separate from the nose.



Page last updated on 1st March 2013