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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Sinonasal undifferentiated carcinoma

Other Names for this Disease
  • Highly aggressive undifferentiated carcinoma of the nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses
  • SNUC
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.

Your Question

My husband was diagnosed with sinonasal undifferentiated carcinoma (SNUC).  We know very little about it. The cancer has metastasized to his lymph nodes and liver.  It started with a very large tumor that grew up from the sinuses and pressed against his frontal lobe. He has had surgery and is now receiving chemotherapy.  Any information you have about this cancer, any current therapies, or research trials could be helpful.

Our Answer

We have identified the following information that we hope you find helpful. If you still have questions, please contact us.

How might sinonasal undifferentiated carcinoma be treated?

Because sinonasal undifferentiated carcinoma is quite rare, there are no established guidelines for treatment of this condition.[1]  Treatment is determined for each affected individual based on the size of the tumor and whether it has spread to other parts of the body.[2]  Currently, it is believed that the best treatment for sinonasal undifferentiated carcinoma consists of multiple therapies, including surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible, and chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy to destroy any cancer cells that may remain in the body.[2][1]
Last updated: 1/22/2013

Is there any research being done on sinonasal undifferentiated carcinoma?

The U.S. National Institutes of Health, through the National Library of Medicine, developed to provide patients, family members, and members of the public with current information on clinical research studies. Currently, 9 clinical trials are identified as enrolling individuals with "nasal cavity undifferentiated carcinoma".  The National Cancer Institute maintains a listing of cancer-related clinical trials categorized by cancer type; you may find relevant research studies under the category of paranasal sinus and nasal cavity cancer.  To read more about these trials, click one of the links in the previous sentences. After you click on a study, review its 'eligibility' criteria to determine its appropriateness. Use the study’s contact information to learn more. Check this site often for regular updates.

You may also obtain information about clinical trials by calling the National Cancer Institute Cancer Information Service (CIS) toll-free at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237). CIS provides the most current information on cancer for patients, health professionals, and the general public.

NCI Public Inquiries Office
6116 Executive Blvd., Room 3036A
Bethesda, MD 20892-8322
Toll free: 1-800-422-6237
TTY: 800-332-8615
Online form:
Web site:

The Patient Recruitment and Public Liaison (PRPL) Office at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is another resource when considering participation in a research study. We recommend calling 1-800-411-1222 to speak with a specialist, who can help you determine if you are eligible for any clinical trials.

Patient Recruitment and Public Liaison Office
NIH Clinical Center
Bethesda, Maryland 20892-2655
Toll-free: 1-800-411-1222
Fax: 301-480-9793
Web site:

If you are interested in enrolling in a clinical trial, you can find helpful general information on clinical trials at the Web page.

Resources on many charitable or special-fare flights to research and treatment sites and low-cost hospitality accommodations for outpatients and family members, as well as ambulance services, are listed on the Web site of the Office of Rare Diseases Research (ORDR), part of the National Institutes of Health.

Last updated: 1/22/2013

Are there any risk factors for sinonasal undifferentiated carcinoma?

Breathing in certain substances while working (known as an occupational exposure), such as dust from the manufacturing of wood, textiles, leather, flour, and metals (including nickel and chromium) are believed to be risk factors for sinonasal undifferentiated carcinoma and may increase the chance of developing this disease.[3]
Last updated: 1/22/2013