SWI/SNF-deficient Sinonasal Carcinomas

Adv Anat Pathol. 2023 Mar 1;30(2):95-103. doi: 10.1097/PAP.0000000000000372. Epub 2022 Oct 20.


The classification of poorly differentiated sinonasal carcinomas and their nonepithelial mimics has experienced tremendous developments during the last 2 decades. These recent developments paved the way for an increasingly adopted approach to a molecular-based or etiology-based refined classification of the many carcinoma variants that have been historically lumped into the sinonasal undifferentiated carcinoma category. Among these new achievements, recognition of carcinoma subtypes driven by defects in the Switch/Sucrose nonfermentable (SWI/SNF) chromatin remodeling complex represents a major highlight. This resulted in a new definition of 4 sinonasal entities driven solely or predominantly by Switch/Sucrose nonfermentable complex deficiency: (1) SMARCB1(INI1)-deficient sinonasal carcinoma (lacking gland formation and frequently displaying a non-descript basaloid, and less frequently eosinophilic/oncocytoid morphology, but no features of other definable subtypes), (2) SMARCB1-deficient sinonasal adenocarcinoma (with unequivocal glands or yolk sac-like pattern), (3) SMARCA4-deficient undifferentiated (sinonasal undifferentiated carcinoma-like) carcinoma (lacking glandular or squamous immunophenotypes), and (4) SMARCA4-deficient subset (~80%) of sinonasal teratocarcinosarcoma. Fortunately, diagnostic loss of all these proteins can be detected by routine immunohistochemistry, so that genetic testing is not mandatory in routine practice. This review summarizes the main demographic, clinicopathological, and molecular features of these new entities.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Carcinoma* / pathology
  • DNA Helicases
  • Humans
  • Maxillary Sinus Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Nose Neoplasms*
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • SMARCB1 Protein / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / genetics


  • SMARCB1 Protein
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • SMARCA4 protein, human
  • DNA Helicases
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Transcription Factors

Supplementary concepts

  • Sinonasal undifferentiated carcinoma