Effectiveness and toxicities of intensity-modulated radiotherapy for patients with locally recurrent nasopharyngeal carcinoma

PLoS One. 2013 Sep 10;8(9):e73918. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0073918. eCollection 2013.


Purpose: To analyze the effectiveness and toxicities in the re-irradiation of locally recurrent nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) using intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT).

Methods: This is a retrospective analysis of 54 NPC patients with local recurrence re-irradiated with IMRT. The re-staging for rT1, rT2, rT3, rT4 were 3 (5.6%), 8 (14.8%), 9 (16.7%), 34 (63%) respectively. The average dose to GTV was 69.95 Gy (49.8-76.58 Gy), the average BED(3Gy) was 116.8 Gy (83.5-127.9 Gy). V₉₅ was 96%, and D₉₅ was 65.75 Gy. 33.3% of them received concurrent chemoradiotherapy.

Results: Median overall survival (OS) was 21 months (1-93 mon). The 1-, 2-year local progression free survival (LPFS) rate was 84.5%, 64% and OS rate was 71.7%, 44.3%. Severe late adverse events (SLAE) occurred in 48.1% of patients, including 31.5% with ulcer or necrosis of the nasopharyngeal mucosa, 20.4% with difficulty in feeding, 18.5% with temporal lobe necrosis, 11.1% with massive hemorrhage. 15.4% died of local regional progression, 5.8% died of distant metastasis, 25% died of SLAE, 9.6% died of both local regional progression and SLAE that could not be differentiated, 5.8% died of other medical complications. Concurrent chemoradiotherapy was the independent negative prognostic factors for LPFS; PTV>100 ml was a predictive factor of poor OS; patients with invasion of post-styloid space were at higher risk of SLAE.

Conclusions: The present study demonstrated that IMRT with 70Gy was efficient for local tumor control. However, we observed a high frequency of serious late complications. More optimized combination treatment and patient selection are required to achieve excellent local control without significant late morbidities in locally recurrent NPC.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Carcinoma
  • Cause of Death
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Hemorrhages / diagnostic imaging
  • Intracranial Hemorrhages / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / mortality
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Radiography
  • Radiotherapy Dosage
  • Radiotherapy, Intensity-Modulated* / adverse effects
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome

Grant support

The authors have no funding or support to report.