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Curr Opin Oncol. 2008 May;20(3):264-9. doi: 10.1097/CCO.0b013e3282fad846.

Advances in nasopharyngeal carcinoma.

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  • 1Department of Medical Oncology, Institut Gustave Roussy, Villejuif, France.



Nasopharyngeal carcinoma prognosis is related to its potential locoregional invasion and metastatic spread. Among prognostic factors, initial tumor-node-metastasis stage is the main one, besides other biological parameters. Worldwide development of positron emission tomography imaging is changing modalities of staging. Concomitant chemoradiotherapy represents one of the most recent advances in the treatment of nasopharyngeal carcinoma patients, besides intensity-modulated radiation therapy. This review updates these recent advances in diagnosis and treatment of nasopharyngeal carcinoma.


Recent publications have shown the superiority of fused positron emission tomography/computed tomography over positron emission tomography alone and conventional imaging to do an accurate staging and to impact on patient management. Circulating Epstein-Barr virus DNA load may be a useful prognostic marker in endemic regions. Recent meta-analysis confirmed the superiority of concurrent chemoradiotherapy to radiotherapy alone. Previous publications have shown that induction chemotherapy with new agents might be promising. Data demonstrating targeted therapies efficacy in metastatic nasopharyngeal carcinoma are limited to date.


Positron emission tomography-computed tomography is replacing conventional imaging in the initial M staging of nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Its usefulness in response evaluation after therapy and its place in the follow-up need to be prospectively evaluated. Cisplatin-based concomitant chemoradiotherapy is now the standard treatment for locally advanced patients. However, incidence of relapses remains high, and new multimodal therapy is needed.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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