The Journal of Laryngology & Otology

Main Articles

Malignant melanoma of nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses: report of 24 patients and literature review

N Cliftona1 c1, L Harrisona2, P J Bradleya1 and N S Jonesa1

a1 Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Queen's Medical Centre Campus, Nottingham, UK

a2 Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Kings Mill Hospital, Sutton in Ashfield, UK


Objective: To report our experience of the management of patients with primary sinonasal malignant melanoma, and to review the relevant medical literature.

Method: Retrospective review examining treatment and outcomes.

Results: Twenty-four patients were treated between 1982 and 2007. The mean age at presentation was 67.5 years. The overall five-year survival was 30 per cent; mean survival was three years and eight months.

Conclusion: Sinonasal malignant melanoma is associated with a poor outcome, and survival statistics have not improved over the last 40 years. Treatment should include radical surgery wherever possible. Local recurrence is common; radiotherapy may help control this but does not appear to affect overall survival. The limited evidence available suggests that endoscopic removal of sinonasal malignant melanoma is as effective as other local surgical means, but that craniofacial resection remains the ‘gold standard’ for tumours that contact or traverse the skull base. Novel biological treatments are emerging and hold promise for the future.

(Accepted August 03 2010)

(Online publication January 21 2011)


c1 Address for correspondence: Mr Nicholas Clifton, Tan-Y-Bryn, Fore Street, Holbeton, Plymouth PL8 1NA, UK E-mail:

Mr N Clifton takes responsibility for the integrity of the content of the paper

Competing interests: None declared