Concurrent and Adjuvant Chemotherapy for Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma: A Factorial Study

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To study the efficacy of concurrent chemoradiotherapy (CRT) and adjuvant chemotherapy (AC) for nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC).

Patients and Methods

Patients with Ho's stage T3 or N2/N3 NPC or neck node ≥ 4 cm were eligible. Patients were randomly assigned to have radiotherapy (RT) or CRT with uracil and tegafur and to have AC or no AC after RT/CRT. AC comprised alternating cisplatin, fluorouracil, vincristine, bleomycin, and methotrexate for six cycles. There were four treatment groups: A, RT; B, CRT; C, RT and AC; D, CRT and AC. For CRT versus RT, groups B and D were compared with groups A and C. For AC versus no AC, groups C and D were compared with groups A and B.


Three-year failure-free survival (FFS) and overall survival (OS) for CRT versus RT were 69.3% versus 57.8% and 86.5% versus 76.8%, respectively (P = .14 and .06; n = 110 v 109). Distant metastases rate (DMR) was significantly reduced with CRT (14.8% v 29.4%; P = .026). Locoregional failure rates (LRFR) were similar (20% v 27.6%; P = .39). Three-year FFS and OS for AC versus no AC were 62.5% versus 65% and 80.4% versus 83.1%, respectively (P = .83 and .69; n = 111 v 108). DMR and LRFR were not reduced with AC (P = .34 and .15, respectively). Cox model showed CRT to be a favorable prognostic factor for OS (hazard ratio, 0.42; P = .009).


An improvement in OS with CRT was observed but did not achieve statistical significance. The improvement seemed to be associated with a significant reduction in DMR. AC did not improve outcome.

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