Retrospective analysis of patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma treated during 1976-1985: survival after local recurrence

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 1993 Aug 1;26(5):773-82. doi: 10.1016/0360-3016(93)90491-d.


Purpose: To study the value of re-irradiation, the overall survival and pattern of failures for patients with nasopharyngeal recurrence.

Methods and materials: All the 891 patients with local recurrence following radiotherapy for nasopharyngeal carcinoma during 1976-1981 were retrospectively analyzed. Only 70% of them had local failure alone at the time of detection, and the T-stage distribution (by Ho's system) was 31% rT1, 16% rT2, 51% rT3, and 1% rT?. Seven hundred and six (79%) patients had been re-irradiated with various techniques and doses. Among those who failed, 50 had further irradiation.

Results: The overall 5- and 10-year actuarial cancer-specific survival rates were 14% and 9%, respectively. Patients with rT3 disease had the worst prognosis. Successful local salvage was achieved in 32% of those re-irradiated (26% of the whole series). The highest control rate was achieved by those treated with external radiotherapy to 60 Gy (equivalent) or above. Only 8/50 patients responded to the third course of radiotherapy. The cumulative incidence of late post-re-irradiation sequelae was 24%, and the treatment mortality rate 1.8%. Besides local failure, 54% had regional relapse and/or distant metastasis. Thus, only 16% of recurrent patients were totally disease-free at final assessment.

Conclusion: The overall prognosis for patients with nasopharyngeal recurrence was grave. High dose re-irradiation could achieve successful local salvage in a substantial number of patients with early recurrence, but late complications did occur. Furthermore, high incidence of failure at other sites was observed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Brachytherapy
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / epidemiology
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / radiotherapy*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / epidemiology
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / radiotherapy*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Analysis
  • Survival Rate