Delayed sino-nasal complications of radiotherapy for nasopharyngeal carcinoma

Eran E. Alon*, Noga Lipschitz, Lev Bedrin, Iris Gluck, Yoav Talmi, Michael Wolf, Arkadi Yakirevitch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Objective. There are only sporadic reports of delayed sinonasal complications associated with nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) treated with radiotherapy. These include choanal stenosis, osteoradionecrosis, chronic sinusitis, and intranasal synechiae. Most likely, these complications are underestimated as in many institutions nasal endoscopies in NPC patients are not performed routinely. The aim of this study was to identify the onset and incidence of delayed sino-nasal complications in NPC patients and their effect on quality of life (QOL). Study Design. Case series with chart review. Setting. Tertiary medical center. Subjects and Methods. A retrospective chart review was performed on all patients treated for NPC in our institution between 1988 through 2009. The inclusion criteria required at least a 3- year follow-up without recurrence. Included patients were contacted prospectively and asked to fill a SNOT-16 questionnaire. Results. Sixty-two patients were included in our review. There were 42 males and 20 females. The average age at onset was 42 years. The AJCC staging for T1, T2, T3, and T4 tumors was 22 (35%), 11 (18%), 18 (29%), and 11 (18%), respectively. Eleven patients (18%) suffered from chronic sinusitis. Nine patients (15%) developed choanal stenosis. Five patients (8%) developed osteoradionecrosis. Two patients suffered from nasal synechiae. Forty-eight patients completed the SNOT-16 questionnaire. Patients with choanal stenosis had the lowest QOL scores out of the cohort. Conclusion. The incidence of delayed sino-nasal complications after radiation treatment for NPC is not negligible and should be kept in mind when addressing the quality of life of NPC survivors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)354-358
Number of pages5
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2014


  • NPC
  • choanal stenosis
  • chronic sinusitis
  • nasopharyngeal carcinoma
  • osteoradionecrosis
  • quality of life
  • radiotherapy
  • synechiae


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