Background. The purpose of this study was to investigate the clinical relevance of subtypes categorized by immunophenotypic analysis in primary sinonasal lymphomas. Methods. Eighty patients with localized non-Hodgkin's lymphoma involving the nasal cavity and/or paranasal sinuses were divided into three subtypes on the basis of their immunohistochemical findings: (A) B-cell lymphoma (n = 19), (B) T-cell lymphoma (n = 27), and (C) natural killer (NK)/T-cell lymphoma (n = 34). The clinicopathologic profiles, immunophenotypic data, patterns of treatment failure, and survival data among the three patient groups were retrospectively compared. Results. The nasal cavity was the predominant site of involvement in T-cell and NK/T-cell lymphoma, whereas sinus involvement without nasal disease was common in B-cell lymphoma. Systemic B symptoms were frequently observed in NK/T-cell lymphoma. Almost all patients with NK/T-cell lymphoma showed a strong association with the Epstein-Barr virus by in situ hybridization studies. Sixty-five patients (81%) achieved complete remission after initial treatment, but 36 (55%) of these subsequently experienced treatment failure. Although there were no significant differences in locoregional failure rates among the patients of the three groups, distant failure was far more common in B-cell or NK/T-cell lymphoma than in T-cell lymphoma (p = .005). Most B-cell lymphoma cases showed a predilection for sites of systemic failure in the nodal and extranodal sites below the diaphragm, such as the paraaortic lymph nodes or the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, whereas patients with NK/T-cell lymphoma showed an increased risk of systemic dissemination to the skin, testes, or GI tract, including the development of hemophagocytic syndrome. The 5-year actuarial and disease-free survival rates for all patients were 57% and 51%, respectively. Of the three subtypes of primary sinonasal lymphomas, T-cell lymphoma seemed to carry the most favorable prognosis and NK/T-cell lymphoma the worst. (The 5-year actuarial survival rate was 57% for B-cell lymphoma, 80% for T-cell lymphoma, 37% for NK/T-cell lymphoma; p = .02, log-rank.) By univariate and multivariate analyses, immunophenotype was identified as the most important prognostic factor. Conclusions. Our data indicate that the three subtypes of primary sinonasal lymphomas classified by immunohistochemical studies exhibit different clinical profiles, different patterns of failure, and different treatment outcomes. Given these observations, it is concluded that the recognition of these distinct subsets, diagnosed on the basis of immunophenotypic study, is very important and clinically relevant in predicting their potential behavior and prognosis.
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