An Ethesioneuroblastoma is a slow growing malignant tumor in the back of the nasal cavity. It is named based on the origin of the tumor cells. “Ethesio” refers to the olfactory epithelial cells. Olfaction is the sense of smell. A neuroblastoma refers to stem cells or origin cells that in this case, give rise to the cells that are responsible for the sense of smell.

It is outside the brain but can invade the brain tissue.  Typical presentation peaks at ages 30 and 60. Signs and symptoms can include recurrent nose bleeds, nasal obstructions, tearing of the eyes, pain, double vision, bulging of the eyes, inability to smell, and possible endocrine dysfunction associated with invasion into the brain affecting the pituitary gland.

Radiographic diagnosis is made with CT and MRI.  Treatment includes surgical removal, followed by radiation and chemotherapy. Surgery is often performed by a skull base surgery team, that includes an ENT surgeon and a neurosurgeon. 

Lindsey Parker PA-C and Justin F. Fraser M.D.