Nasal polyps is a common condition with a significant impact on quality of life. The association between nasal polyps and future risk of head and neck cancer is unknown.
To investigate the relative risk of nasal cavity and paranasal sinus (NCPS) and nasopharyngeal cancers in a nationwide population-based longitudinal retrospective cohort of nasal polyp patients and matched comparators.
The 2005–2017 National Health Insurance claims and National Health Screening program databases were used to construct a cohort of nasal polyp patients and matched comparators in Korea. Relative risk of NCPS and nasopharyngeal cancer in patients with nasal polyps was examined.
The study consisted of 453,892 nasal polyp patients and 4,583,938 matched comparators. The mean duration of follow-up was 6.2 years (range: 2-13 years). The incidence rate ratios of patients with nasal polyps compared to the comparators was 7.00 (95% CI: 5.28-9.25) for NCPS cancer and 1.78 (95% CI: 1.28-2.42) for nasopharyngeal cancer. Increased risks of these cancers were only evident in older subjects (age ≥ 50 years). There were trends towards weaker associations of nasal polyps with these cancers in younger subjects with comorbid asthma or allergic rhinitis (< 50 years).
Although the absolute cancer incidence is very low, the relative risk of NCPS or nasopharyngeal cancers was significantly higher in older patients with nasal polyps. Given the regional and pathological heterogeneity of nasal polyps, further studies are needed to explore the underlying mechanisms and validate the relationships.
Key words : nasal polyps; head and neck cancer; paranasal sinus neoplasms; nasopharyngeal neoplasms; cancer risk