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J Pediatr Hematol Oncol. 2005 Oct;27(10):510-6.

Nasopharyngeal carcinoma in the pediatric age group: the northern Israel (Rambam) medical center experience, 1989-2004.

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  • 1Pediatric Hemato-Oncology Department, Meyer Children's Hospital, Rambam Medical Center, Haifa, Israel.


Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is rare in children, accounting for less than 1% of all malignancies. Radiation therapy has been the mainstay of treatment of many years, but to improve survival, the use of chemotherapy has been advocated. This is a retrospective analysis of 13 patients less than 20 years of age treated for NPC the Rambam Medical Center during 1989 to 2004. Eight boys and five girls with a median age of 14.5 years (range 10-19) were included. Median follow up (including patients who died) was 6.15 years (range 1-15 years). Duration of symptoms was 1 to 24 months (median 5 months). Of the 13 patients, one patient had stage I, 6 had stage III, 5 had stage IV-A, and 1 had stage IV-B disease. Ten patients (77%) had undifferentiated carcinoma (WHO type III) and three patients (23%) had nonkeratinizing carcinoma (WHO type II). Most of the children received two or three courses of neoadjuvant multiagent chemotherapy consisting of cisplatin and 5-FU, followed by radiotherapy with doses in excess of 60 Gy. One child received concomitant chemoradiation. Ten of the 13 patients (77%) are alive without disease 6 years after diagnosis (range 1-15 years). One patient developed local and distant metastases 1 year after diagnosis and is currently receiving combined radiochemotherapy. Two patients died. Overall survival was 84%; event-free survival was 77%. Nine patients (69%) developed moderate to severe long-term complications. Pediatric NPC is curable by combined radiation and chemotherapy, with doses of radiation in excess of 60 Gy. Long-term follow-up is important for early detection of second malignancies as well as for radiation-induced endocrinologic deficiencies and other normal tissue complications.

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