Paragangliomas of the head and neck region: a clinical study of 69 patients

Cancer. 1977 Feb;39(2):397-409. doi: 10.1002/1097-0142(197702)39:2<397::aid-cncr2820390205>;2-c.


Over a 38-year-period 73 paragangliomas from the head and neck region were seen at Memorial Hospital. These occurred in 69 patients. There were 44 carotid body, 13 vagal body, eight jugulo-tympanic, and three nasal paragangliomas. In addition, one each arose in the orbit, larynx, and area of the aortic arch. Sixty-two patients were surgically treated while three received irradiation only and four were observed but not treated. Follow-up was obtained for 94% of the patients. There were six postoperative deaths, five of which occurred before 1945. Of those treated surgically, 37 had no evidence of recurrent tumor while the paragangliomas recurred locally in 11. All patients in the radiation and untreated groups had persistent tumor. Malignant behavior with death due to tumor was observed in five cases (four carotid body and one vagal body paraganglioma). Using modern techniques carotid body and vagal body paragangliomas can usually be managed by surgery alone. Other paragangliomas of the head and neck due to their anatomic location are sometimes best treated by a combination of surgery and radiation or only by radiation therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aortic Bodies
  • Carotid Body
  • Child
  • Ear, Middle
  • Female
  • Glomus Jugulare
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / genetics
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Head and Neck Neoplasms / surgery
  • Humans
  • Laryngeal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms, Multiple Primary / pathology
  • Nose Neoplasms / pathology
  • Orbital Neoplasms / pathology
  • Paraganglioma / genetics
  • Paraganglioma / pathology*
  • Paraganglioma / surgery
  • Vagus Nerve