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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 1999 Nov 1;45(4):901-5.

Neoadjuvant chemotherapy and radiation therapy compared with radiation therapy alone in advanced nasopharyngeal carcinoma.

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Department of Therapeutic Radiology, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Chongno-gu, Korea.



To analyze the impact of neoadjuvant chemotherapy on the treatment of locoregionally advanced nasopharyngeal carcinoma and to assess the outcomes of patients receiving such treatment.


We analyzed 137 previously untreated and histologically confirmed advanced stage nasopharyngeal carcinoma patients treated with either radiation therapy only or combined radiation therapy and chemotherapy at the Seoul National University Hospital between 1984 and 1996. The stage distribution was as follows: AJCC Stage III-21, Stage IV-61 in the radiation therapy group (RT group); AJCC Stage III-1, Stage IV-54 in neoadjuvant chemotherapy and radiation therapy group (CT/RT group). The median follow-up for surviving patients was 48 months.


The 5-year overall survival (OS) rates were 71% for the CT/RT group and 59% for the RT group (p = 0.04). The 5-year actuarial disease-free survival (DFS) rates were 63% for the CT/RT group and 52% for the RT group (p = 0.04). Distant metastasis (DM) incidence was significantly lower in the CT/RT group. The 5-year freedom from distant metastasis rates were 84% for the CT/RT group and 66% for the RT group (p = 0.01). The incidence of locoregional failures was also lower in the CT/RT group, although this difference did not reach statistical significance (69% vs. 56%, p = 0.09)


While not providing conclusive evidence, historical evidence from this institution suggests that neoadjuvant chemotherapy significantly improves both overall and the disease-free survival of patients with advanced stage nasopharyngeal carcinoma.

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