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      Concurrent Chemoradiotherapy for Loco-regionally Advanced Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma: Treatment Outcomes and Prognostic Factors

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          We conducted this study to contribute to resolving some controversial issues on management of nasopharyngeal carcinoma.


          Thirty-two patients with stage III-IVB nasopharyngeal carcinoma were included in this retrospective study. All patients received concurrent chemoradiotherapy with either 3D conformal radiotherapy or intensity-modulated radiotherapy. We retrospectively analyzed the survival outcome, prognostic factors for survival, and toxicity outcome.


          The 2- and 5-year overall survival rates were 89.9% and 82.6%. The 2- and 5-year distant metastasis-free survival rates were 83.2% and 79.4%. The 2- and 5-year loco-regional recurrence-free survival rates were 83.3% and 79.5%. Addition of induction chemotherapy to concurrent chemoradiotherapy did not improve survival outcomes. The survival benefit of intensity-modulated radiotherapy over 3D conformal radiotherapy was not clear. Intensity-modulated radiotherapy significantly decreased the development of late toxicities compared with 3D conformal radiotherapy. Total RT dose was prognostic factor for overall, loco-regional recurrence-free, and distant metastasis-free survival. Temporary RT interruption was prognostic factor for overall survival. Daily RT dose was prognostic factor for distant metastasis-free survival.


          Concurrent chemoradiotherapy resulted in high survival rates with an acceptable level of toxicities in patients with loco-regionally advanced nasopharyngeal carcinoma. To confirm the results of this study, well-designed randomized prospective trials are warranted.

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          Most cited references 26

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          Chemoradiotherapy versus radiotherapy in patients with advanced nasopharyngeal cancer: phase III randomized Intergroup study 0099.

          The Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG) coordinated an Intergroup study with the participation of Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG), and Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG). This randomized phase III trial compared chemoradiotherapy versus radiotherapy alone in patients with nasopharyngeal cancers. Radiotherapy was administered in both arms: 1.8- to 2.0-Gy/d fractions Monday to Friday for 35 to 39 fractions for a total dose of 70 Gy. The investigational arm received chemotherapy with cisplatin 100 mg/m2 on days 1, 22, and 43 during radiotherapy; postradiotherapy, chemotherapy with cisplatin 80 mg/m2 on day 1 and fluorouracil 1,000 mg/m2/d on days 1 to 4 was administered every 4 weeks for three courses. Patients were stratified by tumor stage, nodal stage, performance status, and histology. Of 193 patients registered, 147 (69 radiotherapy and 78 chemoradiotherapy) were eligible for primary analysis for survival and toxicity. The median progression-free survival (PFS) time was 15 months for eligible patients on the radiotherapy arm and was not reached for the chemo-radiotherapy group. The 3-year PFS rate was 24% versus 69%, respectively (P < .001). The median survival time was 34 months for the radiotherapy group and not reached for the chemo-radiotherapy group, and the 3-year survival rate was 47% versus 78%, respectively (P = .005). One hundred eighty-five patients were included in a secondary analysis for survival. The 3-year survival rate for patients randomized to radiotherapy was 46%, and for the chemoradiotherapy group was 76% (P < .001). We conclude that chemoradiotherapy is superior to radiotherapy alone for patients with advanced nasopharyngeal cancers with respect to PFS and overall survival.
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            Phase III study of concurrent chemoradiotherapy versus radiotherapy alone for advanced nasopharyngeal carcinoma: positive effect on overall and progression-free survival.

            Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is a radiosensitive and chemosensitive tumor. This randomized phase III trial compared concurrent chemoradiotherapy (CCRT) versus radiotherapy (RT) alone in patients with advanced NPC. From December 1993 to April 1999, 284 patients with 1992 American Joint Committee on Cancer stage III to IV (M0) NPC were randomly allocated into two arms. Similar dosage and fractionation of RT was administered in both arms. The investigational arm received two cycles of concurrent chemotherapy with cisplatin 20 mg/m(2)/d plus fluorouracil 400 mg/m(2)/d by 96-hour continuous infusion during the weeks 1 and 5 of RT. Survival analysis was estimated by the Kaplan-Meier method and compared by the log-rank test. Baseline patient characteristics were comparable in both arms. After a median follow-up of 65 months, 26.2% (37 of 141) and 46.2% (66 of 143) of patients developed tumor relapse in the CCRT and RT-alone groups, respectively. The 5-year overall survival rates were 72.3% for the CCRT arm and 54.2% for the RT-only arm (P =.0022). The 5-year progression-free survival rates were 71.6% for the CCRT group compared with 53.0% for the RT-only group (P =.0012). Although significantly more toxicity was noted in the CCRT arm, including leukopenia and emesis, compliance with the combined treatment was good. The second cycle of concurrent chemotherapy was refused by nine patients and was delayed for > or = 1 week for another nine patients. There were no treatment-related deaths in either arm. We conclude that CCRT is superior to RT alone for patients with advanced NPC in endemic areas.
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              Long-term outcomes of intensity-modulated radiotherapy for 868 patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma: an analysis of survival and treatment toxicities.

              To evaluate the long-term survival outcomes and toxicity of NPC patients treated with intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT). From May 2001 to October 2008, 868 non-metastatic NPC patients treated by IMRT were analyzed retrospectively. The Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) criteria were used to assess toxicity. With a median follow-up of 50 months (range, 5-115 months), the 5-year estimated disease specific survival (DSS), local recurrence-free survival (LRFS), regional recurrence-free survival (RRFS) and distant metastasis-free survival (DMFS) were 84.7%, 91.8%, 96.4% and 84.6%, respectively. Of the 868 patients, 186 (21.3%) developed failure after treatment. Distant metastasis was the major failure pattern after treatment. The 5-year OS rate in patients with stage I, II, III, and IVa-b were 100.0%, 94.3%, 83.6%, and 70.5%, respectively. The 5-year LRFS rate in patients with stage T1, T2, T3, and T4 disease were 100.0%, 96.0%, 90.4%, and 83.3%, respectively (χ(2) = 26.32, P<0.001). The 5-year DMFS for N0, N1, N2, and N3 patients were 96.1%, 85.6%, 73.7%, and 62.1%, respectively (χ(2) = 65.54, P<0.001). Concurrent chemotherapy failed to improve survival rates for patients with advanced locoregional disease. The most common acute toxicities were mainly in grade 1 or 2. Compared with IMRT alone, IMRT plus concurrent chemotherapy increased the severity of acute toxicities. The incidence of brain radiation damage was relatively high (5.5%, 48/868 cases), and was not observed in patients with stage T1-2. IMRT for NPC yielded excellent survival outcomes, and distant metastasis was the most commonly seen failure pattern after treatment. The role of concurrent chemotherapy for advanced locoregional stage NPC patients needs to be further investigated. Treatment-related toxicities were well tolerable. However, the incidence of brain radiation damage was relatively high, especially for patients with advanced T-stage. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

                Author and article information

                Asian Pac J Cancer Prev
                Asian Pac. J. Cancer Prev
                Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention : APJCP
                West Asia Organization for Cancer Prevention (Iran )
                : 19
                : 6
                : 1591-1599
                Department of Radiation Oncology, Kyung Hee University Medical Center, Kyung Hee University School of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea
                Author notes
                [* ] For Correspondence: kongmoonkyoo@
                Copyright: © Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention

                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

                Research Article

                survival, nasopharyngeal carcinoma, radiotherapy


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