Head and neck paragangliomas

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BackgroundThe purpose of this study was to describe the natural history and optimal treatment for head and neck paragangliomas (PGs).MethodsOur methods were the review of the pertinent literature.ResultsPGs are rare tumors seen most commonly in the head and neck. Approximately 90% are sporadic; the remainder are familial and related to mutations of the succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) gene complex. Most PGs are benign and slow growing; 6% to 19% are malignant, as evidenced by the development of metastases. PGs may be treated by complete resection or moderate-dose radiotherapy with a ≥90% likelihood of cure. The optimal radiotherapy dose is approximately 45 Gy/25 fractions/5 weeks. The treatment modality selected depends on the risk of complications. Due to their rarity, the optimal treatment for malignant PGs is unclear.ConclusionPGs may be treated by either complete resection or radiotherapy with a high likelihood of success. Treatment depends on the location and extent of the PG and the morbidity associated with treatment. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Head Neck, 2010

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