Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2001 Apr 1;49(5):1229-34.

Failure of a 3D conformal boost to improve radiotherapy for nasopharyngeal carcinoma.

Author information

  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY 10021, USA.



To determine whether the use of 3-dimensional (3D) boost for patients with nasopharynx cancer improves local control and reduces the risk of long-term complications.


From 1988 to 1998, 68 patients with nasopharynx cancer received conventional external beam therapy followed by a 3D boost. Disease characteristics of treated patients were as follows: WHO I histology 7%, WHO II 62%, WHO III 31%, clinical AJCC stage T1--2 45%, T3--4 55%, N0--1 63%, N2--3 37%, M0 100%. The median radiation dose was 70 Gy (68--75.6 Gy). Thirty-five patients (52%) received cisplatin-based chemotherapy. The median follow-up of surviving patients was 42 months (12--118 months).


Five-year actuarial local control was 77%, regional control was 97%, progression-free survival was 56%, and overall survival was 58%. Stage was the only identifiable prognostic factor: 5-year progression-free survival was 65% for Stages I--III vs. 40% for Stage IV (p = 0.01). The incidence of Grade 3-4 complications was 25% and included hearing loss, trismus, dysphagia, chronic sinusitis, and cranial neuropathy. These results are comparable to outcomes reported with conventional radiation techniques for similarly staged patients.


The lack of a major benefit with the 3D boost may be related to the fact that CT planning was only used for a fraction of the total dose. We are now using intensity modulated radiation therapy to deliver the entire course of radiation. Intensity modulated radiation therapy achieves better conformal distributions than conventional 3D planning, allowing dose escalation and increased normal tissue sparing.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk