Indian Journal of Cancer
Home  ICS  Feedback Subscribe Top cited articles Login 
Users Online :345
Small font sizeDefault font sizeIncrease font size
Navigate here
Resource links
   Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
   Article in PDF (407 KB)
   Citation Manager
   Access Statistics
   Reader Comments
   Email Alert *
   Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

  In this article
   Article Figures

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded290    
    Comments [Add]    
    Cited by others 1    

Recommend this journal


  Table of Contents  
Year : 2011  |  Volume : 48  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 115-116

Olfactory neuroblastoma with central nervous system metastasis-A rare report

Department of Radiotherapy, Government Medical College, Chandigarh - 160 030, India

Date of Web Publication10-Feb-2011

Correspondence Address:
B Rai
Department of Radiotherapy, Government Medical College, Chandigarh - 160 030
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-509X.76632

Rights and Permissions

How to cite this article:
Rai B, Pandey A K, Aggarwal R, Dimri K. Olfactory neuroblastoma with central nervous system metastasis-A rare report. Indian J Cancer 2011;48:115-6

How to cite this URL:
Rai B, Pandey A K, Aggarwal R, Dimri K. Olfactory neuroblastoma with central nervous system metastasis-A rare report. Indian J Cancer [serial online] 2011 [cited 2021 May 14];48:115-6. Available from: https://www.indianjcancer.com/text.asp?2011/48/1/115/76632


A 23-year-old male presented to the radiotherapy clinic with a two-month-old history of swelling over the upper part of the nose, obstruction, and frequent headaches. He had undergone an excision of a nasal mass two years ago, the histopathology of which was reported as olfactory neuroblastoma. However, he did not report for adjuvant treatment. Over last two weeks he had developed progressive weakness of both lower limbs with parasthesias in the gluteal region. An MRI of the brain showed a large expansile area of the bilateral anterior ethmoid cells and frontal sinuses extending into superior aspect of the nasal cavity, without intraorbital or intracranial extension. [Figure 1]. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the lumbar spine showed a partial collapse of the L4 vertebra, with marrow edema at L4, 5, and S1, and an anterior epidural soft tissue mass causing marked thecal sac compression at L4-5. [Figure 2].
Figure 1: MRI of the brain showing a large lobulated expansile area of the altered signal in the bilateral ethmoid air cells, frontal sinuses, and anterior aspect of the nasal cavity

Click here to view
Figure 2: MRI of the lumbar spine showing partial collapse of the L4 vertebra with marrow edema at L4, 5, and S1, and anterior epidural soft tissue causing marked thecal sac compression at L4, 5

Click here to view

A diagnosis of olfactory neuroblastoma with Kadish stage C was made. The patient was started on radiotherapy to the lumbar sacral region (L3-S2). A dose of 30 Gray in ten fractions, over two weeks, was planned, by a single posterior field treated at a depth by Cobalt-60. He was planned for chemotherapy with cisplatin and etoposide followed by radiotherapy to the primary site. However, he refused further treatment after two cycles of chemotherapy. At the last follow-up, after eight months, he had 20 - 25% subjective response at the local site and had no neurological deficit. He was lost to follow-up thereafter.

Esthesioneuroblastoma or olfactory neuroblastoma is a rare neuroepithelial tumor originating in the cribriform plate or upper nasal cavity and accounts for 1 - 5% of cancers of the nasal cavity. [1] The tumor can spread locally through direct extension or along the olfactory nerves. Local recurrence occurs in two-thirds of the patients who undergo surgery and is the most common cause of death. Metastasis occurs in about 20% of the patients and cervical lymph nodes are the frequent site of metastasis. Metastasis to the central nervous system (CNS) is rare and in the spinal cord nearly 80% of metastasis occurs in the cauda equine. [2] This is thought to occur when the tumor cells violate the ependymal epithelium of the ventricles to gain access to the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). The tumor cells then disseminate through the CSF pathway to different sites. The tumor is positive for neuroendocrine markers [3] and the presence of tumor necrosis is the only histological feature of prognostic significance. [4]

In a literature review and report by Shaari et al, Parenchymal CNS metastasis to the cerebral hemispheres was more common as compared to spinal cord metastasis. [1] The analysis suggested that tumor cells harbored in areas of large CSF cisterns, and therefore, cauda equine (the most dependant spinal cistern) was the most frequent site of spinal cord metastasis. Most of the CNS metastasis developed in patients with advanced disease and the prognosis in these patients was poor with survival of less than two years. The treatment recommended was surgical resection of the metastasis followed by radiation and / or chemotherapy. In a study by Yoh et al, the response rate of 83% with chemotherapy was seen in young patients with unresectable or recurrent olfactory neuroblastoma. The drugs commonly used were cisplatin, cyclophosphamide, docetaxel, and doxorubicin. [5]

In conclusion, the standard treatment for olfactory neuroblastoma is aggressive surgical resection followed by adjuvant radiotherapy. However, in patients with unresectable, recurrent or metastatic disease, chemotherapy may be considered.

  References Top

1.Shaari CM, Catalano PJ, Sen C, Post K. Central nervous system metastasis from neuroblastoma. Otolaryngologol-Head Neck Surg 1996;114:808-12.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Turakhia S. Patel K. Esthesioneuroblastoma. Indian J Radiol Imaging 2006;16:669-72.  Back to cited text no. 2
  Medknow Journal  
3.Rinaldo A, Ferlito A, Shaha AR, Wei Wi, Lund VJ. Esthesioneuroblastoma and cervical lymph node metastasis: Clinical and therapeutic implications. Acta Otolaryngol 2002;122:215-21.  Back to cited text no. 3
4.Ramsay AD. Oxford Textbook of Pathology. In: James OD, McGee SP, Wright NA, editors. Pathology of systems. Chap-15.2, Vol. 2A. Oxford New York Tokyo: Oxford University Press; 1992. P. 1112.  Back to cited text no. 4
5.Yoh K, Tahara M, Kawada K, Mukai H, Nakata M, Itoh K, et al. Chemotherapy in the treatment of advanced or recurrent olfactory neuroblastoma. Asia Pacif J Clin Oncol 2006;2:180-4.  Back to cited text no. 5


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2]

This article has been cited by
1 Esthesioneuroblastoma with distant metastases: Systematic review & meta-analysis
John P. Marinelli,Jeffrey R. Janus,Jamie J. Van Gompel,Michael J. Link,Robert L. Foote,Christine M. Lohse,Katharine A. Price,Ashish V. Chintakuntlawar
Head & Neck. 2018; 40(10): 2295
[Pubmed] | [DOI]


Print this article  Email this article


  Site Map | What's new | Copyright and Disclaimer
  Online since 1st April '07
  2007 - Indian Journal of Cancer | Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow