Background. Carcinoma of the paranasal sinuses is rare. The majority of these originate in the maxillary sinus with primary ethmoid carcinomas occurring in up to 20% of cases. Adenocarcinomas comprise up to 50% of the ethmoid malignancy. The relative rarity of tumors originating in this area has led to their inclusion in series that consist mainly of maxillary antral tumors. Methods. A retrospective chart review of all patients presenting with primary ethmoid adenocarcinoma at West Virginia University Hospitals between 1988 and 1993 was undertaken. Only patients whose epicenter was believed to be in the ethmoids were included in this analysis. CT scans, MRIs, operative notes, pathology, and final outcome were all analyzed. Results. Eight patients with primary ethmoid adenocarcinoma were treated during this time span. The male to female ratio was 1:1 with a mean age of 50 years. Symptoms had been present from 3 to 18 months (mean 8 months). All patients underwent craniofacial resection with 5 patients receiving postoperative radiotherapy. Pathologically 4 patients had cribriform plate erosion, 2 had dural involvement, and 1 had extension into the sphenoid sinus. With a mean follow‐up of 45 months (9–71 months) 7 patients are disease free and 1 patient has died of disease. Conclusions. Obtaining clear margins by craniofacial resection is essential to the management of adenocarcinoma of the ethmoid sinuses. Radiotherapy is reserved for positive margins, cribriform plate penetration, dural invasion, and high‐grade lesions that are close to the cribriform plate. Local control was obtained in 87% of our patients. © 1995 Jons Wiley & Sons, Inc.
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