Background: Because only limited data are available pertaining to radiotherapy for chemodectomas of the carotid body and glomus vagale, we reviewed our experience.
Methods: Fifteen patients with 23 chemodectomas of either the carotid body or glomus vagale were treated with radiotherapy at the University of Florida between 1981 and 1995. Eighteen lesions were previously untreated. One patient had received prior radiotherapy at another institution and four patients had received prior surgery.
Results: The local control rate at 10 years, calculated by the Kaplan-Meier product-limit method, was 96% for the overall group of 23 lesions and 100% for the subset of 22 lesions without prior radiotherapy. The 10-year cause-specific survival rate was 89% for all 15 patients and 100% for the 14 patients who had received no prior radiotherapy. No patient experienced a significant complication secondary to irradiation.
Conclusions: Irradiation offers a high probability of tumor control with relatively minimal risks for patients with chemodectomas of the carotid body and glomus vagale.