1. Department of Radiation Oncology, Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center, State Key Laboratory of Oncology in South China, Collaborative Innovation Center for Cancer Medicine, Guangzhou 510060, Guangdong Province, People's Republic of China;
2. Department of Radiation Oncology, the Fifth Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University, Zhuhai 519001, Guangdong Province, China;
3. Department of Medical Statistics and Epidemiology & Health Information Research Center & Guangdong Key Laboratory of Medicine, School of Public Health, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510080, Guangdong Province, China.
* These authors contributed equally to this manuscript.
Purpose: The objective of this study was to confirm the association between pretreatment Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) DNA (pre-DNA) load and survival outcomes after long-term follow-up in patients with locoregionally advanced nasopharyngeal carcinoma (LA-NPC).
Materials and Methods: Between November 2009 and February 2012, a total of 1036 patients with LA-NPC were enrolled. There were 762 patients in stage III and 274 in stage IVA-B. All patients were treated with radical radiotherapy with or without chemotherapy, and pre-DNA concentrations were quantified by a polymerase chain reaction assay. Patient outcomes were evaluated.
Results: The 5-year overall survival (OS), distant metastasis-free surviva (DMFS), locoregional relapse-free survival (LRFS), and progression-free survival (PFS) rates were 84.7%, 87.0%, 90.2%, and 77.1%, respectively. By using previously defined pre-DNA cutoff value (1500 copies/ml pretreatment), pre-DNA was an independent prognostic predictor for OS, DMFS, and PFS using log-rank test. Multivariate Cox analysis also confirmed these results. Subgroup analysis indicated that the 5-year OS, DMFS, and PFS rates in patients staged IVA-B with pre-DNA < 1500 copies/ml were similar to those patients staged III with pre-DNA ≥ 1500 copies/ml, whereas patients staged IVA-B patients with pre-DNA ≥ 1500 copies/ml predicted worse outcome.
Conclusions: In this expanded study, the prognostic significance of pre-DNA was confirmed using predefined cutoff value in an independent patient group, and pre-DNA was identified as an independent prognostic marker for the risk stratification in LA-NPC.
Keywords: Nasopharyngeal carcinoma, Epstein-Barr virus DNA, Survival, Overall stage, Prognostic value.