Elevated high-sensitivity C-reactive protein levels predict decreased survival for nasopharyngeal carcinoma patients in the intensity-modulated radiotherapy era

Lin Quan Tang, Dong Peng Hu, Qiu Yan Chen, Lu Zhang, Xiao Ping Lai, Yun He, Yun-Xiu-Xiu Xu, Shi-Hua Wen, Yu-Tuan Peng, Wen-Hui Chen, Shan-Shan Guo, Li-Ting Liu, Chao-Nan Qian, Xiang Guo, Mu-Sheng Zeng, Hai-Qiang Mai
PloS One 2015, 10 (4): e0122965

PURPOSE: This study aimed to clarify the prognostic utility of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) patients in the Intensity-Modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT) era.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: In this observational study, 1,589 non-metastatic NPC patients treated with IMRT were recruited. Blood samples were collected before treatment for examination of hs-CRP levels. We evaluated the association of pretreatment hs-CRP levels with overall survival rate (OS), progression free survival rate (PFS), locoregional relapse free survival rate (LRFS) and distant metastasis free survival rate (DMFS).

RESULTS: Baseline hs-CRP levels were correlated with sex, clinical stage, body mass index, smoking status, and EBV DNA level. Multivariate analysis showed that hs-CRP had significant association with OS (HR:1.723; 95%CI:1.238-2.398; p = 0.001), PFS (HR:1.621; 95%CI:1.273-2.064; p<0.001) and DMFS (HR:1.879; 95%CI:1.394-2.531; p<0.001). In subgroups such as advanced-stage group, low EBV DNA group and high EBV DNA group, elevated hs-CRP levels still predicted poor clinical outcomes. Furthermore, in patients with chronic HBV infection, decreased 4-year survival was observed in the cohort of high hs-CRP levels, with 87.4% vs. 94.9% (p = 0.023) for OS, 65.2% vs. 90.8% (p<0.001) for PFS, and 67.6% vs. 95.0% (p<0.001) for DMFS. A similar finding was observed for patients with cardiovascular disease, with 79.1% vs. 90.2% (p = 0.020) for PFS, and 71.4% vs. 97.6% (p = 0.002) for DMFS.

CONCLUSION: Elevated serum hs-CRP levels were correlated with poor survival for NPC patients in the IMRT era, playing a complementary role to TNM stage and EBV DNA. In addition, elevated hs-CRP level was still an effective indicator for patients with chronic HBV infection and cardiovascular disease.

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