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Is Olfactory Neuroblastoma A Progressive Disease & Alternative Treatments For It?

Olfactory neuroblastoma is a rare condition that develops in the olfactory epithelium cells. It has common symptoms similar to local invasive illness.

Is Olfactory Neuroblastoma A Progressive Disease?

Olfactory neuroblastoma prognosis is monitored by Hyams’ histopathologic grading and Kadish radiographic staging. The condition is recurrent and, if olfactory neuroblastoma is not managed or intervened early in with an appropriate treatment approach, it will grow to spread in other organs.(1)

If your doctor suspects that you have olfactory neuroblastoma, he will likely refer you to an ENT specialist. If an ENT specialist suspects that you may have a rare cancer olfactory neuroblastoma, he should first order nasal endoscopy.

Nasal endoscopy is an invasive medical procedure. A small tube with a camera on top will be inserted into your nose. The person who will perform this procedure will insert the camera tube from the nose to your sinuses. The doctor will further perform a biopsy if the initial diagnoses are positive. The treatment would require a procedure called an intranasal biopsy after confirmation of lesion present in the upper nasal cavity. If the biopsy results are positive, two radiological tests will be ordered: the CT and the MRI.

A CT scan is necessary to assess the stage of the disease. It also shows signs of erosion of cribriform plaques or bone erosion of the base of the skull, often caused by olfactory neuroblastoma.

MRI is necessary to better delimit the intracranial, intraorbital and nasal extension of the disease. Patients diagnosed with olfactory neuroblastoma should consult an ophthalmologist, as this condition usually causes minor or major damage to the eyes.(2)

Alternative Treatments For Olfactory Neuroblastoma

There are no possible alternative therapies available of olfactory neuroblastoma or identified to date. However, several complementary therapies can help in tandem with conventional treatment can help you deal with the medication side effects better.

Treatment options that can assist in the progression of this disease include:

You may consider any of the technique that is most effective for you.(3)

Treatment For Olfactory Neuroblastoma

Olfactory neuroblastoma surgery is a preferred treatment option for treating this malignant disease. After successful surgery for olfactory neuroblastoma, radiotherapy is performed. The radiation therapies used to treat this disease are Gamma Knife surgery and IMRT.

In patients with stage C (3) olfactory neuroblastoma, chemotherapy is prescribed. Cisplatin, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, etoposide, and vincristine are the chemotherapeutic agents used for treatment.(4)

The Survival Rate For Olfactory Neuroblastoma

The survival rate for olfactory neuroblastoma depends greatly on the stage reached by this malignant disease. These are the 5-year survival rates in patients diagnosed with olfactory neuroblastoma depending on the stage of this disease:

  • Stage A – 95%
  • Stage B – 71%
  • Stage C – 47%.(3)

Recovery Period Or Healing Time Of Olfactory Neuroblastoma

Patients who have undergone surgery for their olfactory neuroblastoma usually stay in the hospital for several days after surgery. However, these patients will likely lose their sense of smell.

Also, at least for several weeks, patients who have suffered from olfactory neuroblastoma surgery should breathe through the mouth. Your doctor will tell you the recovery period or healing time depending on your particular case.(5)

Risk factors

The risk factors for the development of olfactory neuroblastoma are either genetic or environmental. The genetic risk factor for developing the disease is a family history or the presence of any other neuroblastoma.

Environmental risk factors for the development of olfactory neuroblastoma are constant exposure to polluted air and high doses of radiation. Also, smoking for a long period poses a risk of developing this condition.

Prognosis Of Olfactory Neuroblastoma

Fortunately, olfactory neuroblastoma tumors are less aggressive than other types of paranasal sinus carcinoma and sinus carcinoma. However, if this type of cancer is not diagnosed early, it spreads to other parts of the body such as the brain and neck. So, the prognosis of olfactory neuroblastoma is fatal.(6)

Coping With Olfactory Neuroblastoma

The family support of a patient diagnosed with olfactory neuroblastoma is the best method of adaptation for the patient. Individuals diagnosed with the early and curable stages of this disease should be admitted to a psychologist for treating the initial shock of hearing about cancer. Palliative care is the recommended method of adaptation for patients with olfactory neuroblastoma in the terminal stages.


  1. Yin Z, Wang Y, Wu Y, et al. Age distribution and age-related outcomes of olfactory neuroblastoma: a population-based analysis. Cancer management and research. 2018;10:1359.
  2. Clotman K, Dirinck E, Van Den BJ, et al. A case of severe ectopic adrenocorticotropic hormone syndrome with olfactory neuroblastoma. Endocrine looks can be deceiving. Acta Clinica Belgica. 2016;71(S2):2.
  3. Uccella S, Ottini G, Facco C, et al. Neuroendocrine neoplasms of the head and neck and olfactory neuroblastoma. Diagnosis and classification. Pathologica. 2017;109(1):14-30.
  4. Jiang Y, Mao X, Zhao Y, Fan C. Intracranial immature teratoma invading the nasal cavity mimicking olfactory neuroblastoma: A case report. Medicine. 2018;97(28).
  5. Appukutty S, Di Palma S, Whitaker S, Wood K. Olfactory Neuroblastoma Presenting as a Submandibular Mass. American Journal of Laboratory Medicine. 2019;4(2):35-39.
  6. Abdelmeguid AS, Teeramatwanich W, Roberts D, et al. Long-Term Outcomes of Management of Olfactory Neuroblastoma: MD Anderson Experience. Journal of Neurological Surgery Part B: Skull Base. 2018;79(S 01):A184.

Also Read:

Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Sheetal DeCaria, M.D. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:May 2, 2020

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