Nasopharyngeal carcinoma

Yu-Pei Chen, Anthony T C Chan, Quynh-Thu Le, Pierre Blanchard, Ying Sun, Jun Ma
Lancet 2019 July 6, 394 (10192): 64-80
Nasopharyngeal carcinoma is characterised by distinct geographical distribution and is particularly prevalent in east and southeast Asia. Epidemiological trends in the past decade have shown that its incidence has declined gradually but progressively, and mortality has been reduced substantially. These findings probably reflect lifestyle and environmental changes, enhanced understanding of the pathogenesis and risk factors, population screening, advancements in imaging techniques, and individualised comprehensive chemoradiotherapy strategies. In particular, plasma Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) DNA has been used for population screening, prognostication, predicting treatment response for therapeutic adaptation, and disease surveillance. Moreover, the widespread application of intensity-modulated radiotherapy and optimisation of chemotherapy strategies (induction, concurrent, adjuvant) have contributed to improved survival with reduced toxicities. Among the existing developments in novel therapeutics, immune checkpoint therapies have achieved breakthroughs for treating recurrent or metastatic disease and represent a promising future direction in nasopharyngeal carcinoma.

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