Radiation therapy of carotid body tumors

Am J Clin Oncol. 1990 Feb;13(1):45-8. doi: 10.1097/00000421-199002000-00013.


Chemodectomas of carotid artery bifurcation are generally managed with surgery, irradiation being reserved for inoperable, bulky, and recurrent tumors. Probably due to this "pretreatment" selection of patients, chemodectomas are anedoctally considered radioresistant tumors, although this concept is not supported by the recent literature. From 1968 to 1987, 13 carotid body tumors in seven patients were treated with irradiation as sole treatment (10 lesions) or as postoperative modality (three lesions). Familial occurrence and bilateral presentation were observed in 3 of 7 and in 6 of 7 patients, respectively. Total dose of irradiation was of 46-60 Gy (median 50 Gy, mean 52.25 Gy) with dose per fraction of 1.8-2.5 Gy. Local control (subjective or objective) was obtained in all the patients. Clinical results following World Health Organization (WHO) criteria were: 3 of 13 complete response, 7 of 13 partial response and 3 of 13 no change. Follow-up range is 1-19 years. Acute side effects were minimal and mid- or long-term toxicity was absent.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Carotid Body Tumor / radiotherapy*
  • Carotid Body Tumor / surgery
  • Cobalt Radioisotopes / therapeutic use
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Paraganglioma / radiotherapy
  • Paraganglioma / surgery
  • Paraganglioma, Extra-Adrenal / radiotherapy
  • Paraganglioma, Extra-Adrenal / surgery
  • Radiotherapy Dosage
  • Remission Induction


  • Cobalt Radioisotopes