The additional value of chemotherapy to radiotherapy in locally advanced nasopharyngeal carcinoma: A meta-analysis of the published literature

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Purpose: The purpose of this meta-analysis was to determine the additional value of neoadjuvant, concurrent, and/or adjuvant chemotherapy to radiation in the treatment of locally advanced nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) with regard to the overall survival (OS) and the incidence of local-regional recurrences (LRR) and distant metastases (DM). Patients and Methods: To be eligible, full published studies had to deal with biopsy-proven NPC and have patients randomly assigned to receive conventional radiotherapy (66 to 70 Gy in 7 weeks) or radiotherapy combined with chemotherapy. Results: Ten randomized clinical studies were identified, including 2,450 patients. The pooled hazard ratio (HR) of death for all studies was 0.82 (95% CI, 0.71 to 0.95; P = .01) corresponding to an absolute survival benefit of 4% after 5 years. Three categories of trials were defined according to the sequence of chemotherapy, including neoadjuvant chemotherapy, at least concomitant chemoradiotherapy, and adjuvant chemotherapy. A significant interaction term (P = .02) was found among these three categories. The largest effect was found for concomitant chemotherapy, with a pooled HR of 0.48 (95% CI, 0.32 to 0.72), which corresponds to a survival benefit of 20% after 5 years. Comparable results were found for the incidence of LRR and DM. Conclusion: The results of this study indicate that concomitant chemotherapy in addition to radiation is probably the most effective way to improve OS in NPC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4604-4612
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of clinical oncology
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2004

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