Clinically diagnosed glomus vagale tumour treated with external beam radiotherapy: A review of the published reports

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The aim of the study was to present a case of clinically diagnosed glomus vagale in a 42-year-old Aboriginal woman treated with external beam radiotherapy and to carry out a review of the published work. The details of presentation, diagnosis, treatment and follow up of the patient are discussed. A review of the published work was carry out using MEDLINE database with respect to aetiology, clinical presentation, diagnosis, treatment and expected outcomes. Glomus vagale tumours are a subtype of paragangliomas of the head and neck derived from extra-adrenal paraganglia of the autonomic nervous system. They are typically slow-growing, benign masses that are often asymptomatic and rarely show signs of hypersecretion. Treatment options include embolization, surgical excision, radiotherapy or surveillance. Radiotherapy is often used for extensive lesions where surgery is considered prohibitively morbid. Following treatment relapse rates are low with the most patients achieving long-term control. Our patient presented with an extensive lesion compressing the wall of the carotid artery and invading the jugular fossa to involve the clivus. Surgery was offered; however, the patient opted for external beam radiotherapy. A dose of 45 Gy in 25 fractions was delivered with 6-MV photons employing a CT-planned, wedge pair technique. Glomus vagale tumours are rare and should be managed in a multidisciplinary head and neck clinic with both surgical and radiation oncology opinions offered. The toxicities and outcomes of both methods should be discussed.

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