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Eur Ann Otorhinolaryngol Head Neck Dis. 2010 Nov;127(5):165-72. doi: 10.1016/j.anorl.2010.09.001. Epub 2010 Oct 29.

Malignant lacrimal sac tumors.

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UFR médecine, service d'ORL et de chirurgie cervicofaciale, CHU de Clermont-Ferrand, université Clermont 1, BP 69, 63003 Clermont-Ferrand cedex 1, France.



Lacrimal sac tumors are usually primary and of epithelial origin. Overall, 55% of lacrimal sac tumors are malignant. Mortality rates for malignant tumors depend on tumor stage and type, with a mean rate of 38%. The main objective of this study was to review our experience with these malignancies and to compare this with the published literature.


A 15-year retrospective review of all malignant lacrimal sac tumor patients was completed in our department. Seven patients were found to have malignant sac tumors. The mean age was 53 years (range, 32-74 years) with six women and one man. The patients' clinical records were reviewed for data regarding patient symptoms, preoperative investigations, pathology reports, treatment results, and outcome. These data were compared with the available literature.


All patients presented with epiphora and a palpable lump of the internal canthus. In two cases, a history of recurrent dacryocystitis was noted. The histological types were as follows: squamous cell carcinoma (n=5), one case of adenoid cystic carcinoma, and one case of malignant lymphoma. Surgery was performed in six cases with additional radiotherapy in four. One patient was treated exclusively with external radiotherapy. The mean follow-up was 68 months (range, 6-204 months). Two patients developed recurrences: three were disease-free at the time of the study.


Malignant epithelial lacrimal sac tumors are rare cancers with significant recurrence rates. Correct diagnosis and appropriate therapy require a multidisciplinary management approach. Treatment of these malignant epithelial tumors is first and foremost complete surgical removal with wide excision.

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