Radiation-induced brachial plexopathy in patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma: a retrospective study
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Zhaoxi Cai3,*, Yi Li1,2,*, Zhen Hu4,*, Ruying Fu1, Xiaoming Rong1, Rong Wu1, Jinping Cheng1, Xiaolong Huang1, Jinjun Luo5, Yamei Tang1,2,6
1Department of Neurology, Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hospital, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, China
2Key Laboratory of Malignant Tumor Gene Regulation and Target Therapy of Guangdong Higher Education Institutes, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, China
3Department of Radiology, Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hospital, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, China
4Department of Neurosurgery, Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hospital, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, China
5Departments of Neurology and Pharmacology, Temple University School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, USA
6Guangdong Province Key Laboratory of Brain Function and Disease, Zhongshan School of Medicine, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, China
*These authors have contributed equally to this work
Yamei Tang, e-mail: email@example.com
Keywords: nasopharyngeal carcinoma, brachial plexopathy, radiotherapy, MRI, electromyography
Received: December 21, 2015 Accepted: February 14, 2016 Published: February 26, 2016
Radiation-induced brachial plexopathy (RIBP) is one of the late complications in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) patients who received radiotherapy. We conducted a retrospective study to investigate its clinical characteristics and risk factors.Thirty-onepatients with RIBP after radiotherapy for NPC were enrolled. Clinical manifestations of RIBP, electrophysiologic data, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and the correlation between irradiation strategy and incidence of RIBP were evaluated. The mean latency at the onset of RIBP was 4.26 years. Of the symptoms, paraesthesia usually presented first (51.6%), followed by pain (22.6%) and weakness (22.6%). The major symptoms included paraesthesia (90.3%), pain (54.8%), weakness (48.4%), fasciculation (19.3%) and muscle atrophy (9.7%). Nerve conduction velocity (NCV) and electromyography (EMG) disclosed that pathological changes of brachial plexus involved predominantly in the upper and middle trunks in distribution. MRI of the brachial plexus showed hyper-intensity on T1, T2, post-contrast T1 and diffusion weighted whole body imaging with background body signal suppression (DWIBS) images in lower cervical nerves. Radiotherapy with Gross Tumor volume (GTVnd) and therapeutic dose (mean 66.8±2.8Gy) for patients with lower cervical lymph node metastasis was related to a significantly higher incidence of RIBP (P<0.001).Thus, RIBP is a severe and progressive complication of NPC after radiotherapy. The clinical symptoms are predominantly involved in upper and middle trunk of the brachial plexus in distribution. Lower cervical lymph node metastasis and corresponding radiotherapy might cause a significant increase of the RIBP incidence.
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