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PLoS One. 2013;8(2):e56208. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0056208. Epub 2013 Feb 18.

Survival benefit of adding chemotherapy to intensity modulated radiation in patients with locoregionally advanced nasopharyngeal carcinoma.

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  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, Beijing Chaoyang Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China.



To evaluate the contribution of chemotherapy for patients with locoregionally advanced nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) treated by intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) and to identify the optimal combination treatment strategy.


Between 2006 and 2010, 276 patients with stage II-IVb NPC were treated by IMRT alone or IMRT plus chemotherapy. Cisplatin-based chemotherapy included neoadjuvant or concurrent, or neoadjuvant plus concurrent protocols. The IMRT alone and chemoradiotherapy groups were well-matched for prognostic factors, except N stage, with more advanced NPC in the chemoradiotherapy arm.


With a mean follow-up of 33.8 months, the 3-year actuarial rates of overall survival (OS), metastasis-free survival (MFS), relapse-free survival (RFS), and disease-free survival (DFS) were 90.3%, 84.2%, 80.3%, and 69.2% for all of the patients, respectively. Compared with the IMRT alone arm, patients treated by concurrent chemoradiotherapy had a significantly better DFS (HR = 2.64; 95% CI, 1.12-6.22; P = 0.03), patients with neoadjuvant-concurrent chemoradiotherapy had a significant improvement in RFS and DFS (HR = 4.03; 95% CI, 1.35-12.05; P = 0.01 and HR = 2.43; 95% CI, 1.09-5.44; P = 0.03), neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy provided no significant benefit in OS, MFS, RFS, and DFS. Stage group and alcohol consumption were prognostic factors for OS and N stage was a significant predictor for DFS.


Addition of concurrent or neoadjuvant-concurrent chemotherapy to IMRT is available to prolong RFS or DFS for locoregionally advanced NPC. Such work could be helpful to guide effective individualized therapy.

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