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Jpn J Clin Oncol. 2008 Apr;38(4):244-9. doi: 10.1093/jjco/hyn022.

Capecitabine monotherapy for recurrent and metastatic nasopharyngeal cancer.

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Department of Clinical Oncology, PB-115, Queen Mary Hospital, Pokfulam, Hong Kong, China.



Capecitabine monotherapy had activity in recurrent/metastatic nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) as demonstrated previously in a small pilot study. We conducted a retrospective review of patients who received capecitabine for recurrent and metastatic NPC to further evaluate its clinical benefits.


Forty-nine patients with recurrent and metastatic NPC received capecitabine at a dose of 1-1.25 G/m(2) twice daily for 14 days in 3-week cycles. Disease sites were locoregional in 29%, distant in 45% and locoregional plus distant in 26%. All except one had prior platinum-based chemotherapy for relapse or as adjunctive treatment. Median follow-up was 10 months (range: 3-41).


Treatment was generally well tolerated. Hand-foot syndrome was common and occurred in 86% (25% Grade 3). Grade 3 hematological toxicity occurred in 6%. Partial response rate was 31% (95% CI: 18%, 44%) and complete response rate was 6% (95% CI: 0%, 13%), for an overall response rate of 37% (95% CI: 23%, 50%). Median time-to-progression was 5 months and median survival was 14 months. One- and two-year survival rates were 54 and 26%, respectively. Significantly better survival was observed in patients treated for locoregional recurrence and those with severe hand-foot syndrome.


Capecitabine has single agent activity in NPC and severe hand-foot syndrome predicts favorable outcome. Based on our experience, capecitabine monotherapy should be considered in patients with recurrent/metastatic NPC.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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