Chronic Granulomatous Invasive Fungal Sinusitis in Patients With Immunocompetence: A Review

Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2023 Apr;168(4):669-680. doi: 10.1177/01945998221097006. Epub 2023 Feb 5.


Objective: We aimed to study the literature on chronic granulomatous invasive fungal sinusitis to elucidate the changing trends in the management of the disease.

Data sources: Using specific keywords, we searched the PubMed, PubMed Central, and Scopus databases over the past 50 years, which yielded 938 articles in the English language.

Review methods: Scrutiny of 147 relevant articles revealed 15 homogenous case series (255 cases of histologically proven chronic granulomatous fungal sinusitis alone) and 8 heterogeneous case series (patients with other types of fungal sinusitis included), which were analyzed in detail (all with >5 cases each).

Conclusions: The disease typically affected middle-aged adults with immunocompetence. Most reports were from Sudan, India, and Saudi Arabia. A slowly progressive orbital, cheek, or palatal mass with proptosis (88.2%) or sinonasal symptoms (39.2%) was typical. Ethmoid (57.2%) and maxillary (51.4%) sinuses were chiefly affected with intracranial extension in 35.1%. Aspergillus flavus (64%) was the most frequent isolate reported. Endoscopic excision (78.8%) followed by azole therapy was the preferred treatment in recent reports. Orbital exenteration and craniotomy were infrequently performed. Complete resolution or improvement was reported in 91.3% of patients. Mortality ranged from 5.9% to 22.2%. There is a trend in the literature toward less radical and disfiguring surgery and preferential use of azoles, with good outcomes even in advanced cases.

Implications for practice: Chronic granulomatous fungal sinusitis should be diagnosed on the basis of well-defined histopathologic features. A combination of endoscopic sinus surgery and azole therapy usually yields good outcomes.

Keywords: antifungals; aspergillosis; fungal granuloma; immunocompetent; paranasal sinus.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aspergillosis* / diagnosis
  • Aspergillosis* / microbiology
  • Aspergillosis* / therapy
  • Azoles
  • Humans
  • Immunocompetence
  • Middle Aged
  • Mycoses* / diagnosis
  • Mycoses* / microbiology
  • Mycoses* / therapy
  • Sinusitis* / surgery


  • Azoles