The Multidisciplinary Management of Paragangliomas of the Head and Neck, Part 2
August 01, 2003
Paragangliomas most commonly occur in the carotid body, jugulotympanicarea, and vagus nerve but have also been reported in otherareas of the head and neck. These tumors are highly vascular andcharacteristically have early blood vessel and neural involvement,making their treatment particularly challenging. Surgery has traditionallybeen the preferred method of treatment, especially in light of recentadvances in technique. However, compared to radiation therapy, it canresult in a higher incidence of cranial nerve dysfunction. Radiationtherapy has the advantage of avoiding the increased morbidity ofsurgery while offering an equal possibility of cure. Part 2 of this articlediscusses radiation therapy as primary treatment of patients who areineligible for surgery and the elderly and infirm. Results with radiotherapyare comparable to those achieved with surgery. The efficacy ofsalvage therapy with either surgery or radiation is discussed, and atreatment algorithm for these tumors is proposed.