Angiosarcoma of the head and neck

William M. Lydiatt, Ashok R. Shaha, Jatin P. Shah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

145 Scopus citations


Background: Angiosarcoma (AS) is an uncommon, highly aggressive tumor with a poor prognosis. Methods: To study the impact of various treatment modalities, namely surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, we reviewed our experience with AS of the head and neck. Results: From 1978 through 1992, we treated 13 men and 5 women with AS (median age 67 years). Sixteen tumors occurred on the scalp and face and 2 in the oropharynx. Two patients presented with cervical metastases, and a third had subsequent nodal involvement. Primary surgery was used in 9 patients, including 1 who received adjunctive systemic doxorubicin hydrochloride, and 2 who received adjunctive radiotherapy. The tumors of 9 patients were unresectable: 4 were treated with intra-arterial doxorubicin hydrochloride; and 5, with systemic doxorubicin hydrochloride. Twelve patients (67%) died of disease an average of 25 months after diagnosis. Overall 5-year survival was 33%, but only 20% of the patients were disease free. Size of the tumor was an important predictor of survival, as all patients with a lesion >10 cm died of disease, compared with 67% with a lesion <10 cm. Four of 6 patients treated with wide local excision for lesions <10 cm survived 5 years. Conclusions: We recommend surgery for resectable lesions with postoperative radiation for unsatisfactory margins, large tumor size, deep extension, and multicentricity. Elective treatment of the neck does not appear warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)451-454
Number of pages4
JournalThe American Journal of Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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