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Radiother Oncol. 2013 Feb;106(2):161-8. doi: 10.1016/j.radonc.2012.11.002. Epub 2013 Jan 16.

Regression and local control rates after radiotherapy for jugulotympanic paragangliomas: systematic review and meta-analysis.

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Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands.


The primary treatment goal of radiotherapy for paragangliomas of the head and neck region (HNPGLs) is local control of the tumor, i.e. stabilization of tumor volume. Interestingly, regression of tumor volume has also been reported. Up to the present, no meta-analysis has been performed giving an overview of regression rates after radiotherapy in HNPGLs. The main objective was to perform a systematic review and meta-analysis to assess regression of tumor volume in HNPGL-patients after radiotherapy. A second outcome was local tumor control. Design of the study is systematic review and meta-analysis. PubMed, EMBASE, Web of Science, COCHRANE and Academic Search Premier and references of key articles were searched in March 2012 to identify potentially relevant studies. Considering the indolent course of HNPGLs, only studies with ≥ 12 months follow-up were eligible. Main outcomes were the pooled proportions of regression and local control after radiotherapy as initial, combined (i.e. directly post-operatively or post-embolization) or salvage treatment (i.e. after initial treatment has failed) for HNPGLs. A meta-analysis was performed with an exact likelihood approach using a logistic regression with a random effect at the study level. Pooled proportions with 95% confidence intervals (CI) were reported. Fifteen studies were included, concerning a total of 283 jugulotympanic HNPGLs in 276 patients. Pooled regression proportions for initial, combined and salvage treatment were respectively 21%, 33% and 52% in radiosurgery studies and 4%, 0% and 64% in external beam radiotherapy studies. Pooled local control proportions for radiotherapy as initial, combined and salvage treatment ranged from 79% to 100%. Radiotherapy for jugulotympanic paragangliomas results in excellent local tumor control and therefore is a valuable treatment for these types of tumors. The effects of radiotherapy on regression of tumor volume remain ambiguous, although the data suggest that regression can be achieved at least in some patients. More research is needed to identify predictors for treatment success.

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