Cetuximab or nimotuzumab plus intensity-modulated radiotherapy versus cisplatin plus intensity-modulated radiotherapy for stage II-IVb nasopharyngeal carcinoma

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To compare intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) with cisplatin (CDDP) versus cetuximab (CTX) and nimotuzumab (NTZ) for Stage II-IVb Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma (NPC). A total of 1,837 patients with stage II–IVb NPC who received IMRT plus CTX or NTZ, or CDDP between January 2009 and December 2013 were included in the current analysis. Using propensity scores to adjust for potential prognostic factors, a well-balanced cohort of 715 patients was created by matching each patient who underwent IMRT plus concomitant NTZ/CTX with four patients who underwent IMRT plus concomitant CDDP (1:4). Efficacy and safety were compared between the CTX/NTZ and CDDP groups of this well-balanced cohort. Furthermore, we conducted multivariate analysis and subgroup analysis based on all the 1,837 eligible cases. There was no significant difference between CTX/NTZ group and CDDP group in terms of DFS (3-year, 86.7%vs. 86.2%,p > 0.05), LRRFS (96.2%vs. 96.3%,p > 0.05), DMFS (91.1%vs. 92.3%,p > 0.05) and OS (91.7%vs. 91.9%,p > 0.05). Subgroup analysis demonstrated a significant interaction effect between patients with IMRT plus CTX/NTZ and N3 node stage on LRRFS with the highest risk of loco-regional relapse (HR 8.85,p = 0.001). Significantly increased hematologic toxicities, gastrointestinal reactions were observed in the CDDP group (p < 0.05). Patients of 3.4–4.7% experienced severe hematologic toxicities during the treatment with concomitant CTX and NTZ. Increased rate of CTX related-skin reaction and mucositis was observed in the CTX group. CTX/NTZ used concurrently with IMRT may be comparable to those of the standard CDDP-IMRT combination for maximizing survival for patients with stage II-IVb NPC.

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