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Head Neck. 2000 May;22(3):215-22.

Nasopharyngectomy in the treatment of recurrent nasopharyngeal carcinoma: a twelve-year experience.

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Division of Head and Neck-Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, Department of Surgery, Prince of Wales Hospital, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong.



The incidence of recurrent nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) after primary radiotherapy is considerable. The result of re-irradiation to the recurrent tumor is not satisfactory.


Thirty-one patients who received nasopharyngectomy for treatment of their recurrent nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) (rT1 to rT3) at the Prince of Wales Hospital during the period 1986 to 1997 were reviewed retrospectively. Eleven patients had nasopharyngectomy performed by the transoropalatal approach, 9 patients by the maxillary swing approach, and 11 patients by the mandibular approach.


Most recurrences (29 of 31) were rT1 and rT2 tumors. No hospital mortality occurred. The common complications of nasopharyngectomy were palatal defect (17 of 31), trismus (15 of 31), otitis media with effusion (20 of 31), dysphagia (12 of 31), and nasal regurgitation (8 of 31). Nine surgical specimens had microscopic invasion of the resection margins. The 5-year actuarial overall survival, actuarial disease-free survival, and tumor control were 47%, 42%, and 43%, respectively. The administration of postoperative radiotherapy significantly enhanced survival and tumor control after nasopharyngectomy.


Nasopharyngectomy supplemented by postoperative radiotherapy achieved significant survival and tumor control with acceptable complications in selected recurrent NPC. It appears to be a better salvage treatment than re-irradiation alone for selected recurrent NPC.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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