IDH2 -Mutated Sinonasal Tumors: A Review

Adv Anat Pathol. 2023 Mar 1;30(2):104-111. doi: 10.1097/PAP.0000000000000391. Epub 2022 Dec 20.


Introduction: Genetic profiling has caused an explosion in the subclassification of sinonasal malignancies. Distinguishing several of these tumor types by histomorphology alone has been quite challenging, and although pathologic classification aims to be as specific as possible, it remains to be seen if this recent move toward tumor speciation bears clinical relevance, most particularly focused on subtyping for the sake of prognostication and treatment. One such recently described cohort, predominantly lumped under the moniker of sinonasal undifferentiated carcinoma (SNUC) is IDH2 -mutated sinonasal carcinoma, a high-grade carcinoma associated with mutations in the isocitrate dehydrogenase-2 ( IDH2 ) gene. A hotspot mutation in the R172 codon has been described in 50% to 80% of the tumors classified as SNUC, large cell neuroendocrine carcinomas, and rarely in cases classified as olfactory neuroblastoma. The use of immunohistochemical and molecular approaches is required to correctly identify this subset of sinonasal tumors, with further study necessary to elucidate their unique pathophysiology, ultimately determining whether a revision is required toward the current therapeutic approach.

Aims: Here, we provide an overview of the IDH2- mutated sinonasal tumors, discuss histopathologic and clinical features, and focus on molecular diagnostics and novel immunohistochemical markers.

Results: A review of the literature reveals 82 reported cases with IDH2 -mutated sinonasal tumors (IST), confirmed either by molecular studies or diagnostic immunohistochemical markers. The mean patient age is 60 years (female/male: 1/1.4), the median tumor size is 5 cm (range: 2.5 to 7.0 cm), and the most common location is the nasal cavity (81%). IST displays tumor necrosis and increased mitotes. Histopathologically, IST shows SNUC-like, large cell neuroendocrine carcinomas-like, or poorly differentiated carcinoma-like features (77%, 12%, and 9%, respectively). The molecular hotspot alterations in mitochondrial IDH2 are: R172S (61%), R172T (19%), R172G (7%), and R172M (3%). Sixty-five percent of tumors are surgically resectable, and all patients received chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or both. Rates of locoregional recurrence and distant metastasis are 60% and 40%, respectively. One-, 3- and 5-year survival rates are 83%, 50%, and 43%, respectively. In all but 1 study, IST is associated with better outcomes than IDH2 wild-type tumors and SMARCB1 -deficient sinonasal tumors.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Neuroendocrine* / diagnosis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Maxillary Sinus Neoplasms* / diagnosis
  • Maxillary Sinus Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation
  • Neoplasms, Glandular and Epithelial*


  • Biomarkers, Tumor

Supplementary concepts

  • Sinonasal undifferentiated carcinoma