Prediction of surgical outcome using plasma Epstein-Barr virus dna and (18)F-FDG PET-CT scan in recurrent nasopharyngeal carcinoma

Jimmy Yu Wai Chan, Velda Ling Yu Chow, Vivian Way Kay Mok, Ambrose Chung Wai Ho, William Ignace Wei
Head & Neck 2012, 34 (4): 541-5

BACKGROUND: This study was carried out to determine the role of plasma Epstein-Barr virus (pEBV)-DNA and positron-emission tomography (PET)-CT scan in predicting the outcome of nasopharyngectomy and cervical lymphadenectomy for recurrent nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC).

METHODS: Between 2007 and 2009, we recruited patients who had local or regional recurrent NPC after radiotherapy. The relationship between preoperative pEBV-DNA level, maximal standard uptake value (SUVmax), and surgical outcome was analyzed.

RESULTS: Forty-two patients had local tumor recurrence. Their median pEBV-DNA level and SUVmax were 348 copies and 4.7, respectively. Both values were significantly lower than those with palliative nasopharyngectomy. Twenty-two patients had regional failure. Their mean pEBV-DNA level and tumor SUVmax were 626 copies and 7.6, respectively. The metastatic lymph nodes with extracapsular spread had a significantly higher mean SUVmax.

CONCLUSIONS: Preoperative pEBV-DNA and PET-CT predict the surgical outcome of nasopharyngectomy for recurrent NPC. Similarly, PET-CT scan predicts the presence of extracapsular spread of metastatic lymph nodes. These patients may warrant further postoperative adjuvant therapy.

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