Marino, Michael J.; Hsieh, Mei-Chin; Wu, Eric L.; Riley, Charles A.; Wu, Xiao-Cheng; McCoul, Edward D.
Background Chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) and allergic rhinitis (AR) may be associated with an increased risk of subsequent diagnosis of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) or paranasal sinus cancer (PSC) in elderly Americans. The clinical utility of this association remains uncertain. Objective To compare early computed tomography (CT) or nasal endoscopy (NE) with late diagnostic studies for the diagnosis of NPC or PSC in elderly Americans with CRS or AR. Methods The Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER)-Medicare database was queried from 2003 to 2011 and included 150 088 Medicare beneficiaries. Patients with a diagnosis of CRS or AR were examined for either NE or CT performed within 6 months of the exposure diagnosis. The risk of a cancer diagnosis was determined between the early and the late diagnostic groups. Results The relative risk of early cancer diagnosis with NE was 1.98 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.60-2.43). The number needed to detect (NND) a case of cancer with NE was 503 (95% CI, 387-718). The relative risk of an early cancer diagnosis using CT was 3.40 (95% CI, 2.85-4.06) and NND was 221 (95% CI, 194-255). The stage of NPC or PSC for the late diagnostic group was not different from those with early NE (P = .458) or CT (P = .497). Overall survival was not different between diagnostic groups for NE (P = .789) or CT (P = .425). Conclusions Early NE or CT is associated with a higher likelihood of cancer diagnosis in elderly individuals with a diagnosis of CRS or AR. The clinical utility of this association is limited due to the low prevalence of these malignancies and lack of difference in disease stage and overall survival between diagnostic groups.