Clinico-pathological pattern of nasopharyngeal carcinoma in Ilorin, Nigeria

  • BS Alabi
  • KB Badmos
  • OA Afolabi
  • MO Buhari
  • S Segun-Busari
Keywords: Nasopharynx, Undifferentiated carcinoma, cervical lymphadenopathy, smoked fish.


Nasopharyngeal carcinoma is an uncommon tumour in Nigeria but the burden of the disease in terms of morbidity and mortality is very high.
The aim of the study was to document the clinic-pathological characteristics of nasopharyngeal carcinoma in Ilorin, North central Nigeria.
This was a retrospective review of all patients seen in ENT department, University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital with the diagnosis of nasopharyngeal carcinoma between January 1st 1999 and December 31st,2008. The patient's biodata, clinical presentation and histopathological findings are presented. The histopathological diagnosis was in accordance with the 1991WHOclassification. A total of 30 patients with histologically confirmed nasopharyngeal carcinoma seen during the study period accounted for 2% of the total cancers recorded in Ilorin cancer registry. There were 20 males and 10 females with a mean age of 48.7 ± 15.9 years. The commonest presenting complaint was cervical lymphadenopathy in 96.7% of patients followed by epistaxis (66.7%) and hearing loss (66.7%). Identifiable risk
factors included regular intake of ungutted salted smoked fish (76.7%) and tobacco use (23.3%) with some having both risk factors. Histologically, undifferentiated carcinoma was the commonest (70%) followed by welldifferentiated keratinizing squamous cell carcinoma (20%) and differentiated nonkeratinizing squamous cell carcinoma (10%).
Undifferentiated carcinoma was the commonest type of nasopharyngeal carcinoma reported from this study especially among males in the 4th and 5th decades of life. Identifiable risk factors included consumption of ungutted salted smoked fish with tobaccon usage. Early diagnosis with effective referral system and easy access to radiotherapy would improve the survival outcome in patients with the disease.

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eISSN: 1119-3077