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Radiother Oncol. 2000 Feb;54(2):135-42.

Locally recurrent nasopharyngeal carcinoma.

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  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Linkou, 33333, Taoyuan, Taiwan.



To assess the outcome of and determine prognostic factors for locally recurrent nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) in patients treated with a second course of radiotherapy (RT).


From 1982 to 1995, 186 NPC patients, who had initially been treated in the Department of Radiation Oncology, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital-Linkou, developed local recurrence in the nasopharynx and were re-treated with RT (>/=20 Gy). The time from the initial RT to re-treatment ranged from 8 to 136 months (median: 23 months). All patients were treated with external RT and conformal radiotherapy was used in 35 patients after 1993. Fifteen received radiosurgery as a boost treatment. The RT dose at the nasopharyngeal tumor area ranged from 20 to 67.2 Gy (median 50 Gy). Eighty-two patients received one to eight courses of cisplatin-based chemotherapy in addition to RT.


The 1-, 3- and 5-year survival was 54.9, 22. 1 and 12.4%, respectively. Patients whose tumor relapsed later than 2 years after the first treatment had a better survival than those with earlier relapse (3-year survival: 30.1 vs. 10.8%; P=0.015), but the difference became insignificant in patients who received >/=50 Gy. Patients without evidence of intracranial invasion or cranial nerve palsy had better survival than those with such lesions (3-year survival: 30.9 vs. 3.7%; P=0.006). A re-treatment dose >/=50 Gy yielded better survival (3-year survival: 22.8 vs. 18.5%; P=0.003). Addition use of radiosurgery may improve survival. The use of chemotherapy did not improve survival. Conformal radiotherapy resulted in significantly fewer severe complications than conventional RT.


A repeat course of RT for locally recurrent NPC successfully prolongs survival in a significant number of patients. Intracranial invasion and/or cranial nerve palsy and re-treatment dose affect the prognosis, with a dose of >/=50 Gy significantly improving survival. Radiosurgery boost may also improve survival. Our preliminary data indicates that conformal radiotherapy may decrease the severity of radiation-induced complications. However; longer follow-up and larger sample size is necessary to document the findings.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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