The treatment of maxillary sinus carcinoma with forward planning can be technically difficult when the neck also requires radiotherapy. This difficulty arises because of the need to spare the contralateral face while treating the bilateral neck. There is considerable potential for error in clinical setup and treatment delivery. We evaluated intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) as an improvement on forward planning, and compared several inverse planning IMRT platforms. A composite dose-volume histogram (DVH) was generated from a complex forward planned case. We compared the results with those generated by sliding window fixed field dynamic multileaf collimator (MLC) IMRT, using sets of coplanar beams. All setups included an anterior posterior (AP) beam, and 3-, 5-, 7-, and 9-field configurations were evaluated. The dose prescription and objective function priorities were invariant. We also evaluated 2 commercial tomotherapy IMRT delivery platforms. DVH results from all of the IMRT approaches compared favorably with the forward plan. Results for the various inverse planning approaches varied considerably across platforms, despite an attempt to prescribe the therapy similarly. The improvement seen with the addition of beams in the fixed beam sliding window case was modest. IMRT is an effective means of delivering radiotherapy reliably in the complex setting of maxillary sinus carcinoma with neck irradiation. Differences in objective function definition and optimization algorithms can lead to unexpected differences in the final dose distribution, and our evaluation suggests that these factors are more significant than the beam arrangement or number of beams. © 2006 American Association of Medical Dosimetrists.