1. State Key Laboratory of Oncology in South China, Collaborative Innovation Center of Cancer Medicine, Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center, 651 Dongfeng East Road, Guangzhou 510060, China.
2. Department of Radiation Oncology, Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center, 651 Dongfeng East Road, Guangzhou 510060, China.
3. Department of Radiation Oncology, the Fifth Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University, 52 Meihua East Road, Zhuhai 519000, China.
† These authors contributed equally to this article.
Purpose: To investigate prognostic impact of chemoradiotherapy-induced hemoglobin (Hb) decrease on treatment outcomes of endemic nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC).
Materials and Methods: Eight hundred and fifteen non-metastatic NPC, receiving neoadjuvant chemotherapy followed by radiotherapy (NACT+RT group) or concomitant chemoradiotherapy (CCRT group), were enrolled in this study, who were regrouped according to pre-radiotherapy Hb (pre-RT Hb), post-radiotherapy Hb (post-RT Hb) and individual Hb decrease through radiotherapy or CCRT (△Hb), respectively. Survival curves were estimated using Kaplan-Meier method and compared by log-rank test. Multivariate analysis was performed using the COX proportional hazard model and binary logistic regression model.
Results: A poorer 5-year disease-free survival (DFS) was observed when pre-RT Hb<130.00 g/L. However, post-RT Hb<130.00 g/L was associated with significantly poorer 5-year locoregional recurrence-free survival (LRFS) (P=0.010) and disease specific survival (DSS) (P=0.008). Multivariate analysis with the COX proportional hazard model identified post-RT Hb<130.00 g/L as an independent negative prognostic factor for both LRFS (hazard ratio [HR], 1.896; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.158-3.106; P=0.011) and DSS (HR, 1.767; 95% CI, 1.152-2.711; P=0.009). Similarly, △Hb <-15.00 g/L also predicted poorer 5-year LRFS (P=0.024) and DSS (P=0.015), which was confirmed in multivariate analysis as an independent adverse prognostic factor for LRFS (HR, 1.586; 95% CI, 1.058-2.377; P=0.026) and DSS (HR, 1.556; 95% CI, 1.087-2.227; P=0.016), respectively. Multivariate analysis with binary logistic regression model indicated that CCRT was a significantly independent predictor for post-RT Hb <130.00 g/L and △Hb < -15.00 g/L.
Conclusions: Chemoradiotherapy-induced decreased Hb levels have negative influence on locoregional control and survival, and might counteract the benefit of neoadjuvant/concomitant chemotherapy. Further studies on supportive care to maintain sufficient Hb level during chemo-radiotherapy are warranted.
Keywords: concomitant chemotherapy, hemoglobin decrease, nasopharyngeal carcinoma, neoadjuvant chemotherapy, prognostication, radiotherapy.