BACKGROUND: Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is the commonest radiocurable cancer in Malaysia. This study aimed to determine the treatment outcomes and late effects of radiotherapy for NPC patients treated in University Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC).
MATERIALS AND METHODS: All newly diagnosed patients with NPC referred for treatment to the Oncology unit at UMMC from 2004-2008 were retrospectively analyzed. Treatment outcomes were 5 years overall survival (OS), disease free survival (DFS), cause-specific survival (CSS), loco- regional control (LRC) and radiotherapy-related late effects. The Kaplan-Meier method was used for survival analysis and differences in survival according to AJCC stage was compared using the log-rank test.
RESULTS: A total of 176 patients with newly diagnosed NPC were treated in UMMC during this period. Late presentation was common, with 33.5% presenting with T3-4 disease, 84.7% with N1-3 disease and 75.6% with AJCC stage 3-4 disease. Radical RT was given to 162 patients with 22.7% having RT alone and 69.3% having CCRT. The stipulated OTT was 7 weeks and 72.2% managed to complete their RT within this time period. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy was given to 14.8% while adjuvant chemotherapy was administered to 16.5%. The 5 years OS was 51.6% with a median follow up of 58 months. The 5 years OS according to stage were 81.8% for stage I, 77.9% for stage II, 47.4% for stage III and 25.9% for stage IV. The 5 years overall CSS, DFS and LRC were 54.4%, 48.4% and 70.6%, respectively. RT related late effects were documented in 80.2%. The commonest was xerostomia (66.7%). Other documented late effects were hearing deficit (17.3%), visual deficit (3.1%), neck stiffness (3.1%) , dysphagia (3.4%), cranial nerve palsy (2.5%), pneumonitis (0.6%) and hypothyroidism (1.2%).
CONCLUSIONS: The 5 years OS and LRC in this study are low compared to the latest studies especially those utilizing IMRT. Implementation of IMRT for NPC treatment should be strongly encouraged.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.