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      Palliative chemotherapy with or without anti-EGFR therapy for de novo metastatic nasopharyngeal carcinoma: a propensity score-matching study

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          We aimed to investigate the efficacy and safety of cetuximab (CTX) or nimotuzumab (NTZ) on the addition of palliative chemotherapy (PCT) in patients with de novo metastatic nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC).

          Materials and methods

          From 2007 to 2016, 451 eligible patients with de novo metastatic NPC were enrolled in the study. With propensity score matching technique, we created a well-balanced cohort by matching patients who received CTX/NTZ plus PCT (62 patients) with those receiving PCT alone (248 patients) in a ratio of 1:4. The primary endpoint was overall survival (OS). All potential prognostic factors were involved in the multivariate analysis with the Cox regression hazards model. Kaplan–Meier curves were used to compare the survival status, and log-rank test to measure the significance.


          The median follow-up time was 27.7 months (range, 1–126 months). No significant difference in survival was observed between the CTX/NTZ plus PCT group and PCT group. (3-year OS: 63.0% vs 58.1%; P=0.485). The administration of CTX/NTZ was not found to be an independent prognostic factor in multivariate analysis. With regard to toxicity, the development of a G3-4 skin reaction and mucositis was more common in patients receiving CTX plus PCT. Interaction effects analysis did not show any significant interaction effects on OS between the treatment regimen and prognostic factors ( P>0.05).


          The efficacy of CTX/NTZ and PCT is comparable to single PCT treatment in terms of survival outcomes among de novo metastatic NPC patients. Moreover, the application of CTX exacerbated skin reactions and mucositis.

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          Most cited references 22

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          Focus on nasopharyngeal carcinoma.

           Kwok Lo,  Ka To,  Dolly P Huang (2004)
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            A novel approach in the treatment of cancer: targeting the epidermal growth factor receptor.

            The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) autocrine pathway contributes to a number of processes important to cancer development and progression, including cell proliferation, apoptosis, angiogenesis, and metastatic spread. The critical role the EGFR plays in cancer has led to an extensive search for selective inhibitors of the EGFR signaling pathway. The results of a large body of preclinical studies and the early clinical trials thus far conducted suggest that targeting the EGFR could represent a significant contribution to cancer therapy. A variety of different approaches are currently being used to target the EGFR. The most promising strategies in clinical development include monoclonal antibodies to prevent ligand binding and small molecule inhibitors of the tyrosine kinase enzymatic activity to inhibit autophosphorylation and downstream intracellular signaling. At least five blocking monoclonal antibodies have been developed against the EGFR. Among these, IMC-225 is a chimeric human-mouse monoclonal IgG1 antibody that has been the first anti-EGFR targeted therapy to enter clinical evaluation in cancer patients in Phase II and III studies, alone or in combination with conventional therapies, such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy. A number of small molecule inhibitors of the EGFR tyrosine kinase enzymatic activity is also in development. OSI-774 and ZD1839 (Iressa) are currently in Phase II and III development, respectively. ZD1839, a p.o. active, selective quinazoline derivative has demonstrated promising in vitro and in vivo antitumor activity. Preliminary results from Phase I and II trials in patients with advanced disease demonstrate that ZD1839 and OSI-774 have an acceptable tolerability profile and promising clinical efficacy in patients with a variety of tumor types. This mini-review describes the EGFR inhibitors in clinical development.
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              Prospective study of tailoring whole-body dual-modality [18F]fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography/computed tomography with plasma Epstein-Barr virus DNA for detecting distant metastasis in endemic nasopharyngeal carcinoma at initial staging.

              To evaluate which patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) obtained the greatest benefits from the detection of distant metastasis with [(18)F]fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography and computed tomography (PET/CT) combined with plasma Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) DNA levels. Consecutive patients with NPC were prospectively enrolled. PET/CT, conventional work-up (CWU), and quantification of plasma EBV DNA were performed before treatment. The accuracy of these strategies for distant metastases was assessed. The costs of the diagnostic strategies were compared. Eighty-six (14.8%) of the 583 eligible patients were found to have distant metastases; 71 patients (82.6%) by PET/CT and 31 patients (36.0%) by CWU. In the multivariable analysis, advanced N stage (odds ratio, 2.689; 95% CI, 1.894 to 3.818) and pretreatment EBV DNA level (odds ratio, 3.344; 95% CI, 1.825 to 6.126) were significant risk factors for distant metastases. PET/CT was not superior to CWU for detecting distant metastases in very low-risk patients (N0-1 with EBV DNA < 4,000 copies/mL; P = .062), but was superior for the low-risk patients (N0-1 with EBV DNA ≥ 4,000 copies/mL and N2-3 with EBV DNA < 4,000 copies/mL; P = .039) and intermediate-risk patients (N2-3 disease with EBV DNA ≥ 4,000 copies/mL; P < .001). The corresponding patient management changes based on PET/CT were 2.9%, 6.3%, and 16.5%, respectively. The costs per true-positive case detected by PET/CT among these groups were ¥324,138 (≈$47,458), ¥96,907 (≈$14,188), and ¥34,182 (≈$5,005), respectively. PET/CT detects more distant metastases than conventional staging in patients with NPC. The largest benefit in terms of cost and patient management was observed in the subgroup with N2-3 disease and EBV DNA ≥ 4,000 copies/mL.

                Author and article information

                Drug Des Devel Ther
                Drug Des Devel Ther
                Drug Design, Development and Therapy
                10 September 2019
                : 13
                : 3207-3216
                [1 ]Department of Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma, Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Centre , Guangzhou, People’s Republic of China
                [2 ]Department of Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma, State Key Laboratory of Oncology in South China , Guangzhou, People’s Republic of China
                [3 ]Department of Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma, Collaborative Innovation Centre for Cancer Medicine , Guangzhou, People’s Republic of China
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Lin-Quan Tang;Hai-Qiang Mai Department of Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma, Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center , 651 Dongfeng Road East, Guangzhou510060, People’s Republic of ChinaTel +86 208 734 3643Fax +86 208 734 3392 Email maihq@mail.sysu.edu.cn;tanglq@sysucc.org.cn

                These authors contributed equally to this work

                © 2019 Sun et al.

                This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms ( https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php).

                Page count
                Figures: 2, Tables: 4, References: 26, Pages: 10
                Original Research


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