What is the definition of Olfactory Neuroblastoma?

Olfactory neuroblastoma is a rare cancer of the upper part of the nasal cavity called the cribiform plate, which is a bone deep in the skull between the eyes, and above the ethmoid sinuses. It accounts for about 5% of all cancers of the nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses. It develops in nerve tissue associated with the sense of smell (olfactory nerve). It can occur at any age, but typically is found in adulthood. Symptoms may be nonspecific and include a blockage of the nasal passageways due to the tumor, facial pain, runny nose, and nosebleeds. Treatment usually includes surgery to remove the tumor, radiation therapy, and sometimes chemotherapy.

What are the alternative names for Olfactory Neuroblastoma?

  • Esthesioneuroblastoma

What are the causes for Olfactory Neuroblastoma?

The cause of olfactory neuroblastoma is not well understood. No specific environmental or genetic causes have been confirmed, although comprehensive genetic testing of affected individuals has identified regions within chromosomes 2, 5, 6, 7, and 20 that may be involved.

What are the symptoms for Olfactory Neuroblastoma?

The most common symptom of olfactory neuroblastoma is blockage of the nasal passageway secondary to the tumor. Other signs and symptoms may include:
  • Loss of smell (anosmia) 
  • Chronic sinus infections (sinusitis)
  • Nasal bleeding
  • Nasal discharge
  • Pain
Some symptoms might be associated with a spread (metastasis) of the tumor to other structures in the face. These symptoms might include:
  • Sinus pain and headache 
  • Visual changes
  • Ear pain 

What are the current treatments for Olfactory Neuroblastoma?

There are no standard guidelines for treatment of olfactory neuroblastoma. Treatment is dependent on the stage of the cancer. Most patients are initially treated with surgical removal of the tumor if possible. Radiation therapy is most commonly administered after surgery. The role of chemotherapy for olfactory neuroblastoma remains unclear. Although several studies have utilized chemotherapy, it is not clear whether it improves the long-term outlook (prognosis) compared to surgery and radiation therapy.

How is Olfactory Neuroblastoma diagnosed?

A diagnosis of olfactory neuroblastoma may be suspected based on presenting signs and symptoms and imaging studies such as MRI and CT scans. The diagnosis is confirmed through biopsy of the tumor.
  • Journal: Zhonghua er bi yan hou tou jing wai ke za zhi = Chinese journal of otorhinolaryngology head and neck surgery
  • Published —
Primary experience and discussion on the treatment of esthesioneuroblastoma.