1. Department of Radiation Oncology, Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center, State Key Laboratory of Oncology in Southern China, Collaborative Innovation Center for Cancer Medicine, People's Republic of China.
2. Imaging Diagnosis and Interventional Center, Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center, State Key Laboratory of Oncology in Southern China, Collaborative Innovation Center for Cancer Medicine, People's Republic of China.
3. Department of Medical Statistics and Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Sun Yat-sen University, People's Republic of China.
Background: The aim of this study is to investigate the prognostic value of neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NCT) in locoregionally advanced nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) with low pre-treatment Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) DNA in the era of intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT).
Methods: Data on 1099 locoregionally advanced NPC patients treated with IMRT were retrospectively reviewed. Propensity score matching (PSM) method was adopted to balance influence of covariates. Patient survival between NCT and non-NCT groups were compared.
Results: The cut-off value of pre-treatment Epstein-Barr virus DNA (pre-DNA) was 1550 copies/ml for DMFS (area under curve [AUC], 0.655; sensitivity, 0.819; specificity, 0.445). For the 145 pairs selected by PSM, the 3-year distant metastasis-free survival (DMFS), overall survival (OS), disease-free survival (DFS) and locoregional relapse-free survival (LRRFS) rates were 98.6% vs. 93.7% (P = 0.101), 95.8% vs. 94.4% (P = 0.881), 91.7% vs. 87.5% (P = 0.309) and 94.4% vs. 95.0% (P = 0.667), respectively. Multivariate analysis did not identify NCT as an independent prognostic factor (P > 0.05 for all rates), and stratified analysis based on overall stage (III and IV) and N category (N0-1 and N2-3) also got the same results.
Conclusion: NCT was not established as an independent prognostic factor, and it should not be used in locoregionally advanced NPC with low pre-DNA.
Keywords: nasopharyngeal carcinoma, neoadjuvant chemotherapy, Epstein-Barr virus DNA, prognosis.