The diagnosis of non-Hodgkin's malignant lymphoma of the nasal cavity, paranasal sinuses, and nasopharynx was made in 15 patients over a 7 year period (nasopharynx, 9; nasal cavity, 3; maxillary sinus, 2; frontal sinus, 1). A wide variety of head and neck symptoms, often characteristic of benign disease, was reported ranging from 2 weeks to 4 months prior to presentation. Of the 15 cases, the original diagnosis was inconclusive in 6; 4 of the 6 required rebiopsy, while the diagnosis in the other 2 was confirmed on further pathologic consultation. Tissue marker studies, which have recently become available, were performed in 7 cases and were crucial in the diagnosis of 2. B-cell lymphoma was diagnosed in the 7 patients who had tissue marker studies. Five patients had palpable cervical nodes, and none had distant adenopathy or masses. With further staging, 4 of the 15 patients were found to have disseminated disease. The paper emphasizes the need for early biopsy of suspicious lesions presenting in areas in which physical examination is limited. Recommendations are made for handling the biopsy specimen when malignant lymphoma is suspected, as well as for the evaluation of local and distant sites. The role of surgery is primarily diagnostic in patients with malignant lymphoma.
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