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Cancer Treat Rev. 2008 Feb;34(1):27-36. Epub 2007 Oct 1.

The current status of intensity-modulated radiation therapy in the treatment of nasopharyngeal carcinoma.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, The People's Hospital of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Nanning City, PR China.


Radiation therapy is the mainstay of treatment in nasopharyngeal carcinoma, alone or in combination with chemotherapy. In the early stage, it can be managed by radiotherapy alone. For locally advanced-stage disease, several meta-analyses have demonstrated the role of concurrent chemoradiotherapy. Conventional radiation therapy results in significant side effects, particular xerostomia, leading to poor quality of life. With the maturity of intensity-modulated radiation therapy in the recent 10 years, more and more evidences have shown the advantages of intensity-modulated radiation therapy over conventional radiation therapy, regarding the local-regional control, survival rate and quality of life. This article reviews the utilization of intensity-modulated radiation therapy in the management of nasopharyngeal carcinoma with respect to its technical advantages, clinical outcome, critical organ sparing and quality of life, and the dilemma in target delineation. In particular, an issue of treatment-related dysphagia will also be discussed.

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