Chemotherapy for Sinonasal Cancer

Chemotherapyā€”a group of drugs that destroy cancer cells throughout the bodyā€”may be used to manage sinonasal cancer. NYU Langone doctors may prescribe it for people who cannot have surgery due to poor health.

Doctors may also recommend chemotherapy for people with sinonasal cancer that has spread to other parts of the body, such as the lymph nodes in the neck, the lungs, or the bones.

Chemotherapy, with or without radiation therapy, is often used to manage sinonasal lymphoma because this form of cancer may spread throughout the body and tends to respond to this type of therapy.

Most chemotherapy drugs are given through a vein with intravenous (IV) infusion on a treatment schedule called a cycle. A cycle usually consists of a day or a few days in which drugs are given, followed by three or four weeks of no treatment so you can rest and recover. The duration and number of cycles can vary depending on the type of sinonasal cancer a person has and the type of drug used.

Common drugs used for sinonasal cancer include carboplatin or cisplatin. Occasionally, doctors prescribe a combination of chemotherapy drugs.


Chemotherapy may also be combined with radiation therapy, an approach called chemoradiation, to shrink sinonasal tumors before surgery.

For people who receive chemoradiation before surgery, doctors usually prescribe cisplatin at the beginning, middle, and end of six weeks of radiation therapy, for a total three cycles. If a person cannot tolerate the side effects of cisplatin, carboplatin may be given.

Managing Side Effects of Chemotherapy

Side effects of chemotherapy may include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and loss of appetite. To reduce them, your doctor may adjust the dosage of the drugs, prescribe other medication, or recommend a variety of support services.