Age and Tumor Volume Predict Growth of Carotid and Vagal Body Paragangliomas

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ObjectiveTreatment for head and neck paragangliomas (HNGPL) can be more harmful than the disease. After diagnosis, an initial period of surveillance is often indicated, and surgery or radiotherapy is reserved for progressive disease. With the aim to optimize this “wait and scan” strategy, we studied growth and possible predictors.DesignA retrospective cohort study was conducted.SettingThis study was conducted at a tertiary referral center for patients with HNGPL.MethodsTumor volume was estimated for 184 SDHD -related carotid and vagal body paragangliomas using sequential magnetic resonance imaging. Cox regression was used to study predictors of tumor growth.ResultsThe estimated fraction of growing tumors ranged from 0.42 after 1 year of follow-up to 0.85 after 11 years. A median growth rate of 10.4 and 12.0% per year was observed for carotid and vagal body tumors, respectively. Tumor location, initial volume, and age (p < 0.05) were included in our prediction model. The probability of growth decreased with increasing age and volume, indicating a decelerating growth pattern.ConclusionsWe created a prediction model (available online), enabling a more individualized “wait and scan” strategy. The favorable natural course of carotid and vagal body paragangliomas was confirmed; although with long follow-up growth will be observed in most cases.

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