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Volume 19, Number 5, 2014

Nasopharyngeal carcinoma in dermatomyositis patients: A 10-year retrospective review in Hospital Selayang, Malaysia

J.W. Teoh, Razif M. Yunus, Faridah Hassan, Norazmi Ghazali, Zainal A.Z. Abidin



The objective of our review is to investigate the association between dermatomyositis patients and nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) together with the clinical presentation of the patients and their management in otorhinolaryngology.


NPC is a malignant disease with good prognosis on early diagnosis. However, the relationship between the dermatomyositis and NPC and its management is not well defined.

Materials and methods

A 10-year retrospective review of case records of 21 dermatomyositis patients seen in Otorhinolaryngology Department of Hospital Selayang from January 2000 to November 2010.


These patients ranged from 19 to 74 years old and a total of 8 (38%) out of 21 adults with dermatomyositis were detected to have malignancy. Five out of 8 patients had NPC (62.5%). The mean age of patients with NPC and dermatomyositis was 48 years. NPC is diagnosed in 4 out of 5 patients (80%) in the first year of diagnosis of dermatomyositis. The clinical findings of the examination of nasopharynx ranged from hyperemia to exophytic nasopharyngeal mass. Histologically, it is only related to NPC of WHO types II and III.


There is a strong relationship between dermatomyositis and malignancy, especially NPC. Clinicians should have a high index of suspicion for malignancy in all dermatomyositis patients. Rigid nasoendoscopies and biopsies, serum Epstein–Barr viral capsid IgA antibody and imaging studies are helpful in detecting NPC in dermatomyositis patients.

Signature: Rep Pract Oncol Radiother, 2014; 19(5) : 332-336

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