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Eur Radiol. 2009 May;19(5):1197-205. doi: 10.1007/s00330-008-1265-6. Epub 2009 Jan 14.

MRI of radiation-induced tumors of the head and neck in post-radiation nasopharyngeal carcinoma.

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Department of Diagnostic Radiology and Organ Imaging, Faculty of Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong SAR, China.


The aim of this study was to document the sites and MRI features of radiation-induced tumors (RITs) in the head and neck following treatment for nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). The MRI examinations and clinical records of 20 patients with 21 RITs were reviewed retrospectively. RITs developed 3-30 years after radiotherapy and included eleven squamous cell carcinomas, six sarcomas, two neuroendocrine carcinomas, one mucoepidermoid carcinoma and one meningioma. RITs arose in the maxillary region (9), oro/hypopharynx and oral cavity (5), external auditory canal (4), nasopharynx and sphenoid sinus (2) and brain (1). Radiation-induced carcinoma and sarcoma had MRI features that were useful to distinguish them from recurrent NPC. To improve early detection of RITs, the check areas on an MRI of a patient with previous NPC treated by radiation should always include the maxillary region, tongue, and external auditory canal/temporal bone.

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