Outcomes of Carotid Body Tumor Management with Active Surveillance

Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 2023 May;132(5):551-557. doi: 10.1177/00034894221105833. Epub 2022 Jun 20.


Objectives: To assess outcomes of carotid body tumors (CBTs) managed with active surveillance.

Methods: Retrospective chart review of CBTs managed with active surveillance from 2001 to 2019.

Results: A total of 115 cases were identified during chart review. Sixty-five of these patients were managed with active surveillance, and 11 patients had bilateral tumors for a total of 76 tumors. Follow-up records with symptomatic outcomes were available for 51 patients, and 47 tumors had follow-up imaging. Thirty-one (66%) actively surveilled CBTs remained stable or decreased in size while 16 (34%) increased in size. Patients undergoing active surveillance developed symptoms in 12 cases, 6 of these patients underwent surgical intervention. Nine CBTs managed with active surveillance (18%) were ultimately resected. The majority of patients who did not undergo surgical intervention never developed symptoms (36/42, 86%).

Conclusions: Active surveillance may be a reasonable approach for a subset of CBTs.

Keywords: carotid body tumors; extra-adrenal paraganglioma; head and neck mass; miscellaneous; neuroendocrine tumors; paraganglioma.

MeSH terms

  • Carotid Body Tumor* / diagnostic imaging
  • Carotid Body Tumor* / surgery
  • Humans
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Watchful Waiting