A range of malignancies can develop in the paranasal (maxillary, ethmoid, sphenoid, frontal) sinuses (figure 1). Adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma of the maxillary sinus and ethmoid sinus are the most common of these tumors.
The epidemiology, clinical presentation, diagnosis, and management of these tumors are discussed here. Tumors arising in the nasal cavity are discussed separately. (See "Cancer of the nasal vestibule" and "Tumors of the nasal cavity".)
EPIDEMIOLOGY AND RISK FACTORS
Cancers arising in the paranasal sinuses are rare, constituting approximately 3 percent of head and neck malignancies [1,2]. The majority of these tumors arise in the maxillary sinuses and most of the remainder start in the ethmoid sinuses. Cancers of the sphenoid and frontal sinuses are extremely rare. Paranasal sinus cancers are more frequent in males than females .
Factors associated with paranasal sinus cancers include:
- Occupational exposures — including leather, textile, wood dust, and formaldehyde [2-6]
- Air pollution 
- Tobacco smoke 
- Viruses – Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection has been associated with paranasal sinus cancer, with some evidence suggesting that it may be involved in the malignant degeneration of inverted papilloma of the paranasal sinus, a rare, usually benign condition [9,10]. Correlations have also been suggested between Epstein-Barr virus infection and sinonasal tract lymphomas [11,12].