Chinese scientists develop new treatment strategy for nasopharyngeal carcinoma
A team of researchers from Sun Yat-sen University in south China's Guangdong Province has recently come up with an innovative treatment strategy for nasopharyngeal carcinoma that can help reduce the negative effects of radiotherapy.
The scientists from the university's Cancer Center conducted a phase III clinical trial, the results of which show that the medial retropharyngeal nodal region-sparing radiotherapy, compared with the standard radiotherapy in patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma, provides non-inferior local relapse-free survival.
The innovative radiotherapy technique, which involves excluding the medial retropharyngeal lymph node (MRLN) region from the elective irradiation volume, could potentially reduce the occurrence of toxic side effects by 10 percent when compared to standard radiotherapy, ultimately leading to an improved quality of life for nasopharyngeal carcinoma patients. Such side effects include acute mocusitis, acute dysphagia, weight loss and advanced dysphagia.
Nasopharyngeal carcinoma is considered endemic, with 47 percent of global cases occurring in China, particularly in provincial-level regions of Guangdong, Guangxi and Fujian, according to the researchers. Radiotherapy is considered the primary treatment modality for nasopharyngeal carcinoma.
The retropharyngeal lymph node is the first station of cervical metastasis of nasopharyngeal carcinoma, with a metastasis rate of up to 70 percent to 80 percent at the initial diagnosis. However, the research team led by professor Ma Jun found that MRLN metastasis is rare, with an occurrence of less than 1 percent.
The research findings were published online in The British Medical Journal on February 6.