Local control of nasopharyngeal carcinoma has substantially improved with advancing radiotherapy technology and appropriate combination with chemotherapy. However, when local recurrence occurs, this is one of the most difficult challenges. Aggressive treatment is indicated because long term salvage is achievable particularly for early recurrence, but high risk of complications is a serious concern. Treatment options include different methods of surgery and/or re-irradiation with/without chemotherapy. Available information in the literature is grossly inadequate; most reports compose of small series of highly selected patients with heterogeneous characteristics and treatment. No randomized trials have been performed to evaluate the therapeutic ratio of different treatment methods. This article reviews available treatment options, their therapeutic benefits and risks of complications; the objective is to provide information for developing treatment recommendations and suggestions for future improvement.
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