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Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 1987 Sep-Oct;96(5):608-14.

Nasopharyngeal carcinoma: the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute experience with 24 patients treated with induction chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

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Division of Medicine, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA 02115.


Nasopharyngeal carcinoma traditionally has been treated with radiotherapy alone. Although the probability of cure for patients with stage I and II nasopharyngeal carcinoma is high, the probability of cure for patients with stage III and IV disease is poor because of a higher rate of local-regional and distant failure. Between February 1981 and August 1986, 24 patients with previously untreated, stage IV nasopharyngeal carcinoma were treated with two to four monthly courses of cisplatin-based combination chemotherapy prior to radiotherapy. A response to induction chemotherapy was recorded in 75% of patients (29% complete response and 46% partial) prior to radiotherapy. By actuarial estimate with a median follow-up of 42 months, the 2-year failure-free survival for all patients was 57%. In conclusion, induction chemotherapy has significant activity in nasopharyngeal carcinoma. The toxicity of this approach, as well as the influence of initial histopathology and response to chemotherapy on survival, will be discussed.

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