OBJECTIVE:To investigate the feasibility of using intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) with reduced, high-dose target volumes for nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). METHODS:The first 57 patients (admitted from October 2005 to May 2008) were treated with large-target-volume IMRT (LV-IMRT). For the LV-IMRT group, the CTV at 70 Gy (CTV70) was delineated as the gross target volume (GTV) plus 7mm, with or without the first-echelon lymph-node region. The next 56 patients (admitted from June 2008 to November 2011) were treated with reduced-target-volume IMRT (RV-IMRT). For the RV-IMRT group, the CTV70 was delineated as the GTV alone. RESULTS:The 4-year local recurrence-free, regional recurrence-free, distant metastasis-free, progression-free, and overall survival rates were 77.2%, 80.1%, 83.2%, 61.2%, and 74.4% for the LV-IMRT group and 83.5%, 92.6%, 89.1%, 78.5, and 91.0% for the RV-IMRT group, respectively. Late toxicity scoring of xerostomia was lesser in the RV-IMRT group than the LV-IMRT group (P < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS:The use of RV-IMRT for the treatment of NPC did not negatively affect survival rates but did reduce the late xerostomia events compared to LV-IMRT.