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Keywords:

  • nasopharyngeal carcinoma;
  • childhood;
  • chemotherapy;
  • radiation therapy;
  • interferon beta

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Preliminary results of combined neoadjuvant chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and postradiation interferon beta (IFN-β) in children and adolescents with nasopharyngeal carcinoma, especially in high-risk patients, have been promising.

METHODS

From 1992 to 2003, 59 patients (58 high-risk patients and 1 low-risk patient, median age 13 yrs; range, 8–25 yrs) were treated in the GPOH-NPC-91 study. The Stage II patient received irradiation as initial therapy. Fifty-eight patients received preradiation chemotherapy with methotrexate, cisplatin, and 5-fluorouracil. The cumulative radiation dose to primary sites was 59.4 Gy, a total dose of 45 Gy was delivered to the neck area. After irradiation, all patients were treated with 105 U recombinant IFN-β/kg body weight 3 times a week for 6 months.

RESULTS

After combination therapy, complete response was accomplished in 58 patients. In one patient, there was tumor progression during chemotherapy. In 3 patients, distant metastases were observed 14, 15, and 18 months after diagnosis, respectively. One patient had a local relapse 12 months after diagnosis. Fifty-four patients are still in first remission with a median follow-up of 48 months (range, 10–110 mos). Chemotherapy-related toxicity was mucositis Grade II, III, or IV in all patients and acute cardiotoxicity in 2 (3.5%) of the patients. Nephrotoxicity Grade I–II occurred in 8.8% of patients.

CONCLUSIONS

The combination of initial chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and IFN-β results in an excellent outcome. These results strongly support the development of a future treatment strategy along this line. Cancer 2005. © 2005 American Cancer Society.