Malignancies of the Ear in Irradiated Patients of Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma

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To report on the clinical profiles and treatment experiences of patients with second primary ear malignancy after treatment of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC).

Study Design:

Retrospective case series.


A retrospective review of the clinical outcomes and pathology of 11 irradiated NPC patients who subsequently had second primary malignancies of the ear at a single institution.


Ten tumors were squamous cell carcinoma and one tumor was chondrosarcoma occurring within the radiation field of previous treatment for NPC. The interval between previous radiotherapy and diagnosis of ear malignancy was 3 to 27 years with a median time of 17 years. Six tumors were located in the external auditory canal, two in the middle ear cavity, two in the periauricular region and one in the mastoid cavity. Four patients underwent surgery, and the other seven patients underwent surgery plus adjuvant radiotherapy. The 3-year disease-free and overall survival rates were 30.3% and 20%, respectively.


Postirradiated malignancy of the ear is extremely rare, but is one of the causes of death for NPC long-term survivors despite curative-intended treatment with surgery plus adjuvant radiotherapy is instituted.

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