Surgical management of recurrent nasopharyngeal carcinoma

Chang Gung Med J. 2010 Jul-Aug;33(4):361-9.


Current standard treatment of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is either radiotherapy alone or combined chemoradiotherapy. Surgery in the form of nasopharyngectomy is usually only offered when there is evidence of local recurrence or persistent disease. Recurrent NPC (rNPC) can be detected earlier with the utilization of Epstein-Barr virus molecular diagnosis. This may result in early management with salvage surgery and hence improved survival. The facial translocation approach enhanced our ability to access the nasopharynx. Through a multidisciplinary approach with the collaboration of neurosurgeons, the surgical indication of salvage surgery is extended. This allowed improved respectability in locally advanced disease and involved the skull base and intracranial extension with reasonable morbidity and mortality. Endoscopic nasopharyngectomy is a choice for recurrent NPC with central roof or floor lesions with minimal lateral extension. Multivariate analysis indicated that gender, parapharyngeal space involvement, surgical margin, and the modality of adjuvant therapy impact significantly on local control. The impact on survival is indicated by the dura or brain involvement, local recurrence and modality of adjuvant therapy. It is apparent that recurrent NPC patients who underwent surgery had a significantly better survival rate than the re-radiation therapy group.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / mortality
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Positron-Emission Tomography
  • Prognosis
  • Recurrence
  • Salvage Therapy
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed