Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma of the Cavernous Sinus - Otolaryngological Sequelae of Therapy: Case Report

Adv Exp Med Biol. 2018:1040:23-27. doi: 10.1007/5584_2017_95.


A 60-year-old woman, otherwise in a good health condition, was first admitted to the hospital with a year-long tingling sensations of the right half of the face, which gradually turned into severe neuralgia corresponding to maxillary (V2) and mandibular (V3) branches of the right trigeminal nerve. MRI scans of the head revealed an unusual hyperplastic or inflammatory changes along the brain base, cavernous sinus extending toward the pterygopalatine fossa, and lateral pterygoid on the right side. Meningioma was suspected and neuralgia was treated conservatively. About 2 years later, due to severe facial and eye pain, the patient underwent decompression of trigeminal nerve roots - Janetta's surgery. The following MRI scans revealed a tumor of cavernous sinus, arousing suspicion of malignancy. Histological specimens obtained after a biopsy and then partial transnasal tumor resection yielded a diagnosis of adenoid cystic carcinoma. The patient was treated with proton radiation therapy. The therapy caused burns in the oropharyngeal soft tissues extending from the oral cavity to the throat and esophagus. The additional adverse effect of the therapy was hypoacusis and a damage to the right cornea. A radiation-induced sinusitis appeared that required surgical intervention. The patient suffered a string of further complications, including pneumonia and a transient kidney failure. In the end, the patient survived. The adenoid carcinoma in the currently 64-year-old woman is visibly reduced, but she still suffers from the trigeminal neuralgia. The patient remains under constant laryngological outpatient care as she requires a periodic cleansing of nasal cavities and hypoacusis monitoring.

Keywords: Adenoid cystic carcinoma; Hypoacusis; Intracranial tumor; Irradiation; Proton beam therapy; Sinusitis.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Adenoid Cystic / diagnostic imaging
  • Carcinoma, Adenoid Cystic / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Adenoid Cystic / radiotherapy*
  • Cavernous Sinus / diagnostic imaging
  • Cavernous Sinus / pathology*
  • Female
  • Hearing Loss / etiology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Meningeal Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Meningeal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Meningeal Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Middle Aged
  • Oropharynx / injuries
  • Proton Therapy / adverse effects*
  • Radiation Injuries / etiology*
  • Sinusitis / etiology*
  • Trigeminal Neuralgia / etiology*