J Cancer 2018; 9(9):1642-1651. doi:10.7150/jca.23994 This issue
Department of Radiation Oncology, Nanjing Medical University Affiliated Cancer Hospital, Jiangsu Cancer Hospital, Jiangsu Institute of Cancer Research, 42# Baiziting Road, Xuanwu District, Nanjing 210009, China
* These authors contributed equally to this work.
Background: This study aimed to compare concurrent chemoradiotherapy (CCRT) plus cetuximab (C) with CCRT alone in locoregionally advanced nasopharyngeal carcinoma(NPC).
Methods: A total of 682 locoregionally advanced NPC patients who had undergone chemoradiotherapy with or without cetuximab were included. Propensity score-matching method was used to match patients. Progression-free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS), locoregional relapse-free survival (LRFS), and distant metastasis-free survival (DMFS) were compared between the two treatment arms.
Results: After matching, 225 patients were identified for the analysis. Compared to CCRT, CCRT plus C was associated with significantly improved 3-year PFS (83.7% vs 71.9%, P = 0.036), LRFS (98.6% vs 90.2%, P = 0.034) but not OS (91.4% vs 85.4%, P = 0.117). Among patients with T4 and/or N3 category, CCRT plus C significantly prolonged 3-year PFS (81.0% vs 61.4%, P = 0.022) and increased 3-year OS (88.0% vs 77.9%, P = 0.086). No significant differences were observed between CCRT plus C and CCRT alone groups with regard to 3-year PFS, OS, LRFS and DMFS rates in stage III patients. Acute oral and oropharyngeal mucositis during radiotherapy were more common in the CCRT plus C than that in CCRT, but late toxicities were comparable.
Conclusions: This study reveals that patients with locoregionally advanced NPC could benefit from the addition of cetuximab to CCRT, and this therapeutic gain mainly originated from T4 and/or N3 subgroup although suffering more acute moderate to severe toxicities.