• radiation-induced sarcoma;
  • nasopharyngeal carcinoma;
  • radiation therapy;
  • second primary malignancy;
  • treatment modality



The increasing incidence of radiation-induced sarcoma (RIS) has become a significant problem that can limit long-term survival. The objective of the current study was to analyze the clinicopathologic characteristics, treatment outcomes, and prognostic factors of RIS after radiotherapy for nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC).


Institutional electronic medical records of patients with NPC who received definitive radiotherapy between February 1964 and 2003 were reviewed. Fifty-three patients who developed RIS and fulfilled the study criteria were included.


The median follow-up after a diagnosis of RIS was 15.5 months (range, 0.4-90.3 months), and the median latency between radiotherapy for NPC and an RIS diagnosis was 9.3 years (range, 3.2-26.6 years). Fibrosarcoma was the most frequent histologic type observed, followed by osteosarcoma, and malignant fibrous histiocytoma. The 3-year overall survival (OS) rate for 49 patients who received treatment was 32.4%, and the median survival was 21.2 months (95% confidence interval, 8.7-33.8 months). The median OS was 41.3 months, 8.4 months, and 11 months for the complete resection group, the incomplete resection group, and the chemotherapy group, respectively (P<.0001). The only independent predictive factor that was associated with better OS was complete surgical resection.


This retrospective study confirmed the rarity and poor prognosis of RIS in patients with NPC. Complete surgical resection was a significant prognostic factor for survival. The authors concluded that long-term follow-up is necessary for the early detection of RIS in patients with NPC. Cancer 2010. © 2010 American Cancer Society.