Epidemiology of Nasopharyngeal Lymphoma in the United States: A Population-Based Analysis of 1119 Cases

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To describe the incidence and determinants of survival of patients with nasopharyngeal lymphoma (NPL) between 1973 and 2012 using the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database.

Study Design

Retrospective cohort study using a national database.


The SEER registry was used to calculate survival trends for patients with NPL between 1973 and 2012. Patient data were then analyzed with respect to histopathology, age, sex, race, histologic subtype, Ann Arbor stage, and whether radiation therapy was given. Overall survival (OS) and disease-specific survival (DSS) were calculated.


A total of 1119 cases of NPL were identified. The cohort was composed of 58.8% males. The mean age at diagnosis was 59.3 years. The median OS was 8.2 years. B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas (NHLs) accounted for most cases (77.5%), with natural killer (NK)/T-cell lymphomas comprising 6.0% of cases. A total of 41.5% patients received radiation therapy. OS at 2, 5, and 10 years was 70%, 57%, and 45%, respectively. On multivariate analysis, advanced age and NK/T-cell NHL histologic subtype were associated with worse OS and DSS, while radiation therapy was associated with improved OS and DSS (all P < .05).


With the exception of NK/T-cell NHL subtypes, NPL is associated with a fair prognosis, with younger age, low Ann Arbor stage, and radiation therapy being independent positive prognosticators for survival.

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