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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2007 Sep 1;69(1):141-7. Epub 2007 Apr 24.

Carcinomas of the paranasal sinuses and nasal cavity treated with radiotherapy at a single institution over five decades: are we making improvement?

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  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Comprehensive Cancer Center, San Francisco, CA, USA.



To compare clinical outcomes of patients with carcinomas of the paranasal sinuses and nasal cavity according to decade of radiation treatment.


Between 1960 and 2005, 127 patients with sinonasal carcinoma underwent radiotherapy with planning and delivery techniques available at the time of treatment. Fifty-nine patients were treated by conventional radiotherapy; 45 patients by three-dimensional conformal radiotherapy; and 23 patients by intensity-modulated radiotherapy. Eighty-two patients (65%) were treated with radiotherapy after gross total tumor resection. Nineteen patients (15%) received chemotherapy. The most common histology was squamous cell carcinoma (83 patients).


The 5-year estimates of overall survival, local control, and disease-free survival for the entire patient population were 52%, 62%, and 54%, respectively. There were no significant differences in any of these endpoints with respect to decade of treatment or radiotherapy technique (p > 0.05, for all). The 5-year overall survival rate for patients treated in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s was 46%, 56%, 51%, 53%, and 49%, respectively (p = 0.23). The observed incidence of severe (Grade 3 or 4) late toxicity was 53%, 45%, 39%, 28%, and 16% among patients treated in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s, respectively (p = 0.01).


Although we did not detect improvements in disease control or overall survival for patients treated over time, the incidence of complications has significantly declined, thereby resulting in an improved therapeutic ratio for patients with carcinomas of the paranasal sinuses and nasal cavity.

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