Medscape is available in 5 Language Editions – Choose your Edition here.


Juvenile Nasopharyngeal Angiofibroma Treatment & Management

  • Author: Ted L Tewfik, MD; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
Updated: Jan 12, 2016

Medical Therapy

Hormonal therapy

The testosterone receptor blocker flutamide was reported to reduce stage I and II tumors to 44%. Despite tumor reduction with hormones, this approach is not routinely used. Schuon et al reported on the immunohistochemical analysis of growth mechanisms in juvenile nasopharyngeal angiofibroma.[3] They concluded that juvenile angiofibroma (JNA) growth and vascularization are driven by factors released from stromal fibroblasts. Therefore, inhibition of these factors might be beneficial for the therapy of inoperable juvenile nasopharyngeal angiofibroma (JNA).


Some centers have reported 80% cure rates with radiation therapy. However, concerns regarding potential effects of radiation make radiation therapy a nonuseful modality in most cases.

Stereotactic radiotherapy (ie, Gamma Knife) delivers a lower dose of radiation to surrounding tissues. However, most authorities reserve radiotherapy for intracranial disease or recurrent cases.

Conformal radiotherapy in extensive juvenile nasopharyngeal angiofibroma (JNA) or intracranial extension provides a good alternative to conventional radiotherapy regarding disease control and radiation morbidity, even with advanced disease.[4, 5]


Surgical Therapy

A lateral rhinotomy, transpalatal, transmaxillary, or sphenoethmoidal route is used for small tumors (Fisch stage I or II).

The infratemporal fossa approach is used when the tumor has a large lateral extension.

The midfacial degloving approach, with or without a Le Fort osteotomy, improves posterior access to the tumor. (A study by de Mello-Filho et al of 40 patients indicated that JNA can be successfully treated with resection by Le Fort I osteotomy, with the surgery being effective even when the tumor has invaded the central nervous system.[6] )

The facial translocation approach is combined with Weber-Ferguson incision and coronal extension for a frontotemporal craniotomy with midface osteotomies for access.

An extended anterior subcranial approach facilitates en bloc tumor removal, optic nerve decompression, and exposure of the cavernous sinus.

Some authors advocate the use of intranasal endoscopic surgery for lesions with limited extension to the infratemporal fossa. Image-guided, endoscopic, laser-assisted removal has also recently been used. Hackman et al (2009) reviewed 31 cases of JNA at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center from 1995 to 2006.[7] Most tumors were completely excised using the expanded endonasal approach (EEA) alone or in combination with minor sublabial incisions, avoiding the morbidity associated with larger open approaches or postoperative radiation therapy.

Radical removal of a large JNA may be difficult because of its extreme vascularity and extension to the cavernous sinus, orbit, middle fossa, and anterior fossa. Nevertheless, most JNAs with intracranial extension can be resected in the first operation with minimal morbidity through a facial degloving and further combination of expanded endoscopic endonasal approaches.[8]

In a retrospective review, Battaglia et al (2014) evaluated the use of endoscopic endonasal surgery in the radical resection of benign or nonmetastatic malignant tumors that have either developed in or extended to the infratemporal fossa or upper parapharyngeal space.[9] According to the investigators, the results, derived from 37 patients, including 20 with JNA, suggested that purely endoscopic endonasal radical resection can be safely used to treat selected tumors involving these spaces.

In a review article, Cloutier et al (2012) reported on 72 patients operated on over a 10-year period.[10] They concluded that the progress in skull-base surgery allowed for expansion of the indications for endoscopic removal of JNA. This approach has a better outcome in terms of blood loss, hospital stay, and complications. Of course, an external approach should be considered only for selected cases due to massive intracranial extension or optic nerve or internal carotid artery entrapment by the tumor.

In a meta-analysis of the endoscopic surgical outcomes of JNA, covering 92 studies and a total of 821 patients, Khoueir et al (2014) calculated that the mean operative blood loss from endoscopic JNA surgery was 564.21 mL. Random effect estimates for recurrence, complications, and residual tumor were 10%, 9.3%, and 7.7%, respectively. The authors stated that endoscopic treatment is currently considered the treatment of choice for JNA but also commented that they could find no randomized, controlled studies for their analysis. They advised that future studies propose a new, endoscopic approach – based classification system.[11]

Yi et al (2013) described a simplified classification system and management option for juvenile nasopharyngeal angiofibroma, as follows[12] :

  • Type I includes tumor localized in the nasal cavity, paranasal sinus, nasopharynx, or pterygopalatine fossa. The transnasal cavity approach with endoscopic guidance is suitable for this type.
  • Type II is if the lesion extends into the infratemporal fossa, cheek region, or orbital cavity, with anterior and/or minimal middle cranial fossa extension but intact dura mater. The transantral-infratemporal fossa-nasal cavity combined approach is reliable for type II.
  • Type III is a calabashlike, massive tumor lobe in the middle cranial fossa. For type III tumors, the complete removal is challenging. A combined extracranial and intracranial approach is often needed. Radiotherapy is useful for treating the residual intracranial part.

Preoperative Details

Preoperative embolization has typically been performed via a transarterial route using a variety of embolic materials. It is accomplished using reabsorbable microparticulate substances (eg, Gelfoam, polyvinyl alcohol, dextran microspheres) or nonabsorbable microparticulates (eg, Ivalon, Terbal). Limiting blood loss during surgery is essential. Endoscopic assistance has been used for direct transnasal tumor puncture and intratumoral embolization using the liquid embolic agent Onyx.[13]



Preoperative angiography and embolization minimize intraoperative blood loss, and the current shift in the treatment to endoscopic excision in selected cases reduces perioperative morbidity.[14] Low-grade consumption coagulopathy may complicate small juvenile nasopharyngeal angiofibroma (JNA) and implies that preoperative coagulation screening may have a role in perioperative hemostasis.

Malignant transformation has been reported in 6 cases; 5 of these patients were treated with radiotherapy, according to a study by Makek et al.[15]

Transient blindness has been reported as a result of embolization, but it is a rare occurrence. Osteoradionecrosis and/or blindness due to optic nerve damage may occur with radiotherapy.

Fistula of the palate at the junction of the soft and hard palate may occur with the transpalatal approach but is prevented by preservation of the greater palatine vessels during flap elevation.

Anesthesia of the cheek is a frequent occurrence with the Weber-Ferguson incision.

A rare case of massive epistaxis from spontaneous rupture of the intracavernous tract of the internal carotid artery 20 days after resection of a giant JNA by midface degloving was recently reported.[16] Coils were selectively used to occlude the vessel and to stop the hemorrhage.


Outcome and Prognosis

The presence of tumor in the pterygoid fossa and basisphenoid, erosion of the clivus, intracranial extension, feeders from the internal carotid artery, a young age, and a residual tumour were risk factors associated with the recurrence of juvenile nasopharyngeal angiofibroma.

Contributor Information and Disclosures

Ted L Tewfik, MD Professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Professor of Pediatric Surgery, McGill University Faculty of Medicine; Senior Staff, Montreal Children's Hospital, Montreal General Hospital, and Royal Victoria Hospital

Ted L Tewfik, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Society of Pediatric Otolaryngology, Canadian Society of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


Mohammed A Al Garni, MBBS Assistant Professor, King Saud Bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences; Consultant, Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, King Abdulaziz Medical City, Saudi Arabia

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Received salary from Medscape for employment. for: Medscape.

Chief Editor

Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA Professor of Otolaryngology, Dentistry, and Engineering, University of Colorado School of Medicine

Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, American Head and Neck Society

Disclosure: Serve(d) as a director, officer, partner, employee, advisor, consultant or trustee for: Cerescan;RxRevu;SymbiaAllergySolutions<br/>Received income in an amount equal to or greater than $250 from: Symbia<br/>Received from Allergy Solutions, Inc for board membership; Received honoraria from RxRevu for chief medical editor; Received salary from Medvoy for founder and president; Received consulting fee from Corvectra for senior medical advisor; Received ownership interest from Cerescan for consulting; Received consulting fee from Essiahealth for advisor; Received consulting fee from Carespan for advisor; Received consulting fee from Covidien for consulting.


Ari J Goldsmith, MD Chief of Pediatric Otolaryngology, Long Island College Hospital; Associate Professor, Department of Otolaryngology, Division of Pediatric Otolaryngology, State University of New York Downstate Medical Center

Ari J Goldsmith, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, American Medical Association, and Medical Society of the State of New York

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

  1. Liu Z, Wang J, Wang H, et al. Hormonal receptors and vascular endothelial growth factor in juvenile nasopharyngeal angiofibroma: immunohistochemical and tissue microarray analysis. Acta Otolaryngol. 2015 Jan. 135 (1):51-7. [Medline].

  2. Wu AW, Mowry SE, Vinuela F, Abemayor E, Wang MB. Bilateral vascular supply in juvenile nasopharyngeal angiofibromas. Laryngoscope. 2011 Mar. 121(3):639-43. [Medline].

  3. Schuon R, Brieger J, Heinrich UR, Roth Y, Szyfter W, Mann WJ. Immunohistochemical analysis of growth mechanisms in juvenile nasopharyngeal angiofibroma. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2007 Apr. 264(4):389-94. [Medline].

  4. Beriwal S, Eidelman A, Micaily B. Three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy for treatment of extensive juvenile angiofibroma: report on two cases. ORL J Otorhinolaryngol Relat Spec. 2003 Jul-Aug. 65(4):238-41. [Medline].

  5. Chakraborty S, Ghoshal S, Patil VM, Oinam AS, Sharma SC. Conformal radiotherapy in the treatment of advanced juvenile nasopharyngeal angiofibroma with intracranial extension: an institutional experience. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2011 Aug 1. 80(5):1398-404. [Medline].

  6. de Mello-Filho FV, Araujo FC, Marques Netto PB, Pereira-Filho FJ, de Toledo-Filho RC, Faria AC. Resection of a juvenile nasoangiofibroma by Le Fort I osteotomy: Experience with 40 cases. J Craniomaxillofac Surg. 2015 Oct. 43 (8):1501-4. [Medline].

  7. Hackman T, Snyderman CH, Carrau R, Vescan A, Kassam A. Juvenile nasopharyngeal angiofibroma: The expanded endonasal approach. Am J Rhinol Allergy. 2009 Jan-Feb. 23(1):95-9. [Medline].

  8. Mattei TA, Nogueira GF, Ramina R. Juvenile Nasopharyngeal Angiofibroma with Intracranial Extension. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2011 May 13. [Medline].

  9. Battaglia P, Turri-Zanoni M, Dallan I, et al. Endoscopic endonasal transpterygoid transmaxillary approach to the infratemporal and upper parapharyngeal tumors. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2014 Jan 23. [Medline].

  10. Cloutier T, Pons Y, Blancal JP, Sauvaget E, Kania R, Bresson D, et al. Juvenile nasopharyngeal angiofibroma: does the external approach still make sense?. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2012 Nov. 147(5):958-63. [Medline].

  11. Khoueir N, Nicolas N, Rohayem Z, et al. Exclusive endoscopic resection of juvenile nasopharyngeal angiofibroma: a systematic review of the literature. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2014 Mar. 150(3):350-8. [Medline].

  12. Yi Z, Fang Z, Lin G, Lin C, Xiao W, Li Z, et al. Nasopharyngeal angiofibroma: A concise classification system and appropriate treatment options. Am J Otolaryngol. 2013 Jan 15. [Medline].

  13. Aziz-Sultan MA, Moftakhar R, Wolfe SQ, Elhammady MS, Herman B, Farhat H. Endoscopically assisted intratumoral embolization of juvenile nasopharyngeal angiofibroma using Onyx. J Neurosurg Pediatr. 2011 Jun. 7(6):600-3. [Medline].

  14. Tang IP, Shashinder S, Gopala Krishnan G, Narayanan P. Juvenile nasopharyngeal angiofibroma in a tertiary centre: ten-year experience. Singapore Med J. 2009 Mar. 50(3):261-4. [Medline].

  15. Makek MS, Andrews JC, Fisch U. Malignant transformation of a nasopharyngeal angiofibroma. Laryngoscope. 1989 Oct. 99(10 Pt 1):1088-92. [Medline].

  16. Succo G, Gisolo M, Crosetti E, Bergui M, Danesi G. Spontaneous ICA rupture: A severe late complication after giant nasopharyngeal angiofibroma resection. Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2013 Jan 8. [Medline].

  17. Baguley C, Sandhu G, O'Donnell J, Howard D. Consumptive coagulopathy complicating juvenile angiofibroma. J Laryngol Otol. 2004 Nov. 118(11):835-9. [Medline].

  18. Beham A, Kainz J, Stammberger H, Aubock L, Beham-Schmid C. Immunohistochemical and electron microscopical characterization of stromal cells in nasopharyngeal angiofibromas. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 1997. 254(4):196-9. [Medline].

  19. Browne JD, Messner AH. Lateral orbital/anterior midfacial degloving approach for nasopharyngeal angiofibromas with cavernous sinus extensions. Skull Base Surg. 1994. 4:232-8.

  20. De Vincentiis M, Gallo A, Minni A, Torri E, Tomassi R, Della Rocca C. [Preoperative embolization in the treatment protocol for rhinopharyngeal angiofibroma: comparison of the effectiveness of various materials]. Acta Otorhinolaryngol Ital. 1997 Jun. 17(3):225-32. [Medline].

  21. Fisch U. The infratemporal fossa approach for nasopharyngeal tumors. Laryngoscope. 1983 Jan. 93(1):36-44. [Medline].

  22. Goldsmith AJ. Transpalatal approach to the nasopharynx. 1999. 10:98-100.

  23. Haines SJ, Duval AJ 3rd. Transzygomatic and palatal excision of juvenile nasopharyngeal angiofibroma with intracranial extension: the surgical procedure. Sekhar LN, Janecka IP, eds. Surgery of Cranial Base Tumors. NY: Raven Press; 1993. 477-80.

  24. Mair EA, Battiata A, Casler JD. Endoscopic laser-assisted excision of juvenile nasopharyngeal angiofibromas. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2003 Apr. 129(4):454-9. [Medline].

  25. Raveh J, Turk JB, Ladrach K, et al. Extended anterior subcranial approach for skull base tumors: long-term results. J Neurosurg. 1995 Jun. 82(6):1002-10. [Medline].

  26. Schick B, Veldung B, Wemmert S, et al. p53 and Her-2/neu in juvenile angiofibromas. Oncol Rep. 2005 Mar. 13(3):453-7. [Medline].

  27. Shaheen OH. Angiofibroma. John NG, ed. Scott-Brown's Otolaryngology. Vol 6. London: Butterworth-Heinemann; 1987. 291-6.

  28. Tewfik TL, Tan AK, al Noury K, et al. Juvenile nasopharyngeal angiofibroma. J Otolaryngol. 1999 Jun. 28(3):145-51. [Medline].

  29. Tyagi I, Syal R, Goyal A. Recurrent and residual juvenile angiofibromas. J Laryngol Otol. 2007 May. 121(5):460-7. [Medline].

  30. Wenig BM. Atlas of Head and Neck Pathology. Philadelphia, Pa: WB Saunders Co; 1993. 145-6.

  31. Windfuhr JP, Remmert S. Extranasopharyngeal angiofibroma: etiology, incidence and management. Acta Otolaryngol. 2004 Oct. 124(8):880-9. [Medline].

  32. Wormald PJ, Van Hasselt A. Endoscopic removal of juvenile angiofibromas. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2003 Dec. 129(6):684-91. [Medline].

Coronal CT scan of the lesion filling the left nasal cavity and ethmoid sinuses, blocking the maxillary sinus and deviating the nasal septum to the right side.
Axial CT scan of lesion involving the right nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses. Courtesy of J Otolaryngol 1999;28:145.
Coronal MRI scan showing extension of the lesion to the cavernous sinus. Courtesy of J Otolaryngol 1999;28:145.
Angiogram depicting angiofibroma before embolization. Courtesy of J Otolaryngol 1999;28:145.
Angiogram depicting angiofibroma after embolization. Courtesy of J Otolaryngol 1999;28:145.
Preembolization lateral carotid angiogram of juvenile nasopharyngeal angiofibroma (JNA).
Postembolization angiogram.
All material on this website is protected by copyright, Copyright © 1994-2016 by WebMD LLC. This website also contains material copyrighted by 3rd parties.