Clinical diagnosis of late temporal lobe necrosis following radiation therapy for nasopharyngeal carcinoma

Cancer. 1988 Apr 15;61(8):1535-42. doi: 10.1002/1097-0142(19880415)61:8<1535::aid-cncr2820610809>;2-e.


This is a preliminary report of 102 patients with clinical diagnosis of late temporal lobe necrosis after radical radiation therapy for nasopharyngeal carcinoma during 1964 to 1983. Histologic verification was available in 12 cases. All but three patients had been treated in our institute using schedules with doses larger than the conventional 200 cGy per fraction. The incidence rate was 1.03%. In our 80 patients with only one course of external irradiation, the doses to the temporal lobes ranged from 1665 to 2127 ret, or 1286 to 1778 brain tolerance unit (btu). The latent interval ranged from 9 months to 16 years. The median observation period is 33 months. The symptomatology, working diagnosis, treatment, and outcome are described. Surgery was hazardous because of the bilaterality of the involvement and exploration for mere verification of diagnosis was unjustified in typical cases. Treatment with corticosteroid achieved durable objective response in 25 (35%) of 72 patients. The importance of early detection and corticosteroid treatment is discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Carcinoma / radiotherapy*
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Necrosis
  • Radiation Injuries / etiology
  • Radiation Injuries / pathology*
  • Radioisotope Teletherapy / adverse effects*
  • Temporal Lobe / pathology*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed