Neoadjuvant chemotherapy plus intensity-modulated radiotherapy versus concurrent chemoradiotherapy plus adjuvant chemotherapy for the treatment of locoregionally advanced nasopharyngeal carcinoma: a retrospective controlled study

Wen-Ze Qiu, Pei-Yu Huang, Jun-Li Shi, Hai-Qun Xia, Chong Zhao, Ka-Jia Cao
Chinese Journal of Cancer 2016 January 6, 35: 2

BACKGROUND: In the era of intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT), the role of neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NAC) for locoregionally advanced nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is under-evaluated. The aim of this study was to compare the efficacy of NAC plus IMRT and concurrent chemoradiotherapy (CCRT) plus adjuvant chemotherapy (AC) on locoregionally advanced NPC.

METHODS: Between January 2004 and December 2008, 240 cases of locoregionally advanced NPC confirmed by pathologic assessment in Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center were reviewed. Of the 240 patients, 117 received NAC followed by IMRT, and 123 were treated with CCRT plus AC. The NAC + IMRT group received a regimen that included cisplatin and 5-fluorouracil (5-FU). The CCRT + AC group received cisplatin concurrently with radiotherapy, and subsequently received adjuvant cisplatin and 5-FU. The survival rates were assessed by Kaplan-Meier analysis, and the survival curves were compared using a log-rank test. Multivariate analysis was conducted using the Cox proportional hazard regression model.

RESULTS: The 5-year overall survival (OS), locoregional relapse-free survival (LRRFS), distant metastasis-free survival (DMFS), and disease-free survival (DFS) were 78.0, 87.9, 79.0, and 69.8%, respectively, for the NAC + IMRT group and 78.7, 84.8, 76.2, and 65.6%, respectively, for the CCRT + AC group. There were no significant differences in survival between the two groups. In multivariate analysis, age (<50 years vs. ≥50 years) and overall stage (III vs. IV) were found to be independent predictors for OS and DFS; furthermore, the overall stage was a significant prognostic factor for DMFS. Compared with the CCRT + AC protocol, the NAC + IMRT protocol significantly reduced the occurrence rates of grade 3-4 nausea-vomiting (6.5 vs. 1.5%, P = 0.023) and leukopenia (9.7 vs. 0.8%, P = 0.006).

CONCLUSIONS: The treatment outcomes of the NAC + IMRT and CCRT + AC groups were similar. Distant metastasis remained the predominant mode of treatment failure.

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