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Radiat Oncol J. 2016 Mar;34(1):10-17. English. Original Article.
Seol KH , Lee JE .
Department of Radiation Oncology, Kyungpook National University School of Medicine, Daegu, Korea.

PURPOSE: To evaluate the patterns of nodal failure after radiotherapy (RT) with the reduced volume approach for elective neck nodal irradiation (ENI) in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). MATERIALS AND METHODS: Fifty-six NPC patients who underwent definitive chemoradiotherapy with the reduced volume approach for ENI were reviewed. The ENI included retropharyngeal and level II lymph nodes, and only encompassed the echelon inferior to the involved level to eliminate the entire neck irradiation. Patients received either moderate hypofractionated intensity-modulated RT for a total of 72.6 Gy (49.5 Gy to elective nodal areas) or a conventional fractionated three-dimensional conformal RT for a total of 68.4-72 Gy (39.6-45 Gy to elective nodal areas). Patterns of failure, locoregional control, and survival were analyzed. RESULTS: The median follow-up was 38 months (range, 3 to 80 months). The out-of-field nodal failure when omitting ENI was none. Three patients developed neck recurrences (one in-field recurrence in the 72.6 Gy irradiated nodal area and two in the elective irradiated region of 39.6 Gy). Overall disease failure at any site developed in 11 patients (19.6%). Among these, there were six local failures (10.7%), three regional failures (5.4%), and five distant metastases (8.9%). The 3-year locoregional control rate was 87.1%, and the distant failure-free rate was 90.4%; disease-free survival and overall survival at 3 years was 80% and 86.8%, respectively. CONCLUSION: No patient developed nodal failure in the omitted ENI site. Our investigation has demonstrated that the reduced volume approach for ENI appears to be a safe treatment approach in NPC.

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