Tumor volume is an independent prognostic indicator of local control in nasopharyngeal carcinoma patients treated with intensity-modulated radiotherapy

Mei Feng, Weidong Wang, Zixuan Fan, Binyu Fu, Jie Li, Shichuan Zhang, Jinyi Lang
Radiation Oncology 2013, 8: 208

BACKGROUND: To retrospectively analyze whether primary tumor volume and primary nodal volume could be considered independent prognostic factors for nasopharyngeal carcinoma treated with intensity-modulated radiation therapy.

METHODS: Three hundred sixty-three consecutive nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) patients who were stage I-IVa+b and treated with intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) in our center from October 2003 to October 2005 were analyzed retrospectively. The predictive ability of gender, age, T and N stage, combined chemotherapy, primary tumor and nodal volume for the 5-year local control (LC), distant-metastasis free survival (DMFS) and overall survival (OS) rate were investigated. Primary tumor and nodal volume were measured based on registration of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with contrast-enhanced computed tomography (CT) images. The Kaplan-Meier method was used for survival analysis, the log-rank test was used for univariate analyses and the Cox proportional hazard model was used for multivariate prognostic analyses.

RESULTS: The mean value of primary tumor and nodal volume were 31.5 ml and 9.7 ml. The primary tumor and nodal volume were respectively divided into four groups for analysis (primary tumor volume: TV1≤20 ml, 20<TV2≤30 ml, 30<TV3≤40 ml, TV4>40 ml; primay nodal volume: NV1≤5 ml, 5<NV2≤10 ml, 10<NV3≤20 ml, NV4>20 ml). In univariate analysis, the 5-year LC and DMFS rate for TV4 was significantly decreased compared to the other groups (LC: p<0.001, DMFS: p=0.001), the 5-year OS rate for TV3 and TV4 were significantly decreased compared to other two subgroups (p=0.002) and the 5-year regional control (RC), DMFS and OS rate for NV3 and NV4 were significantly less than NV1 and NV2 (RC: p=0.002, DMFS: p=0.01, OS: p=0.014). Multivariate analysis showed that TV>40 ml was an adverse prognostic factor for the 5-year local regional control (LRC) rate (RR 2.454, p=0.002). Primary nodal volume had no statistical significance in predicting 5-year LRC, DMFS and OS rate in multivariate analysis.

CONCLUSIONS: Primary tumor volume could predict LRC rate of NPC patients, and the primary tumor volume of 40 ml may be the cut-off. Primary nodal volume may have predictive significance, but more data are needed. These factors should be considered in the TNM staging system of NPC for better estimates of prognosis.

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