Salvage photodynamic therapy for recurrent nasopharyngeal carcinoma

Giovanni Succo, S. Rosso, G. L. Fadda, M. Fantini, Erika Crosetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: To evaluate the feasibility of photodynamic therapy (NP-PDT) in the palliative management of recurrent/persistent nasopharyngeal cancer (NFC). Methods: Six patients with persistent/recurrent NPC underwent PDT with palliative intent. NP-PDT was delivered by three different methods depending on the localization, size and depth of the lesion: type I NP-PDT: transnasal direct illumination of postero-superior recurrence; type II NP-PDT: transnasal direct illumination of the whole nasopharynx; type III NP-PDT: transoral direct or interstitial illumination of lateral recurrence. In this case, the ENT-magnetic navigation system (MNS) was extremely useful in identifying the tumor and its distance from the ICA. Results: Both patients treated with NP-PDT type I are free from disease at 38 and 71 months after treatment; both patients treated with NP-PDT type II experienced further local and loco-regional recurrence of disease within 16 months; one died of the disease while the second underwent a second palliative treatment, NP-PDT type I, and is currently living with the disease; of the two patients who underwent NP-PDT type III, one died as a result of regional and systemic recurrence without local recurrence while the second experienced a superficial recurrence. He underwent a second NP-PDT type III treatment and is currently free from disease at 21 months. Conclusions: NP-PDT is a non-invasive and simple treatment modality that may have an important role in the treatment of selected cases of persistent/recurrent NPC in its early stage, not suitable for a conventional therapeutic protocol. Coupling NP-PDT with the ENT-MNS can be an effective strategy to obtain more precise light delivery within the tumor, particularly in lateral and parapharyngeal localization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-70
Number of pages8
JournalPhotodiagnosis and Photodynamic Therapy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Magnetic
  • Nasopharyngeal cancer
  • Neuronavigator
  • Photodynamic therapy
  • Recurrence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Oncology
  • Dermatology
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Medicine(all)


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