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The clavicle: A vulnerable bone in pediatric oncology

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The clavicle is frequently incorporated into the radiation field in the treatment of malignant tumors located in the head and neck. From 1954 to 1995, 499 pediatric patients were treated with moderate to high-dose radiation therapy to the head and neck at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. The medical records of 312 of these patients were available and were reviewed. The period of observation ranged from 5 to 30 years. Five late radiation-induced abnormalities of the clavicle were encountered: osteosarcoma; osteochondroma; malignant fibrous histiocytoma; radionecrosis and impaired healing following trauma and radionecrosis and lysis. The doses of radiation therapy which induced the abnormalities varied from 35 to 60.5 Gy (median 34.75 Gy). The interval from radiation therapy to discovery of the complications varied from 6 to 11 years. Two patients died: one from malignant fibrous histiocytoma and another from a radiation-induced meningioma of the brain (which accompanied radionecrosis of the clavicle). We conclude that the incidence of radiation-induced abnormalities of the clavicle in pediatric long-term survivors is low (1.5%). However, some of the late sequela are potentially fatal. The clavicle should be considered a vulnerable bone to radiation therapy and should be monitored in long-term survivors of childhood cancer. The experience is compared to radiation-induced abnormalities recorded in the literature.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Division of Pediatrics, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77030, USA

Publication date: January 1, 2001

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  • The International Journal of Oncology provides an international forum for the publication of the latest, cutting-edge research in the broad area of oncology and cancer treatment. The journal accepts original high quality works and reviews on all aspects of oncology research including carcinogenesis, metastasis, epidemiology, chemotherapy and viral oncology. Through fair and efficient peer review, the journal is dedicated to publishing top tier research in the field, offering authors rapid publication as well as high standards of copy-editing and production. The International Journal of Oncology is published on a monthly basis in both print and early online.
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