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Keywords:

  • nasopharyngeal cancer;
  • immune thrombocytopenia;
  • paraneoplastic syndrome;
  • IMRT;
  • Epstein–Barr virus

Abstract

Background

Nasopharyngeal cancer (NPC) presenting with thrombocytopenia is rare. This report details 2 cases of NPC with grade III thrombocytopenia as a paraneoplastic syndrome.

Methods

We present 2 cases of NPC in whom grade III thrombocytopenia was diagnosed concurrently at presentation. One patient underwent definitive intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) in combination with concurrent cetuximab, the other with cisplatin. Both patients received adjuvant chemotherapy composed of docetaxel and cisplatin.

Results

The cause of their grade III thrombocytopenia was diagnosed as immunologic in origin. Prednisone was administered before IMRT, and their peripheral platelet counts recovered to normal levels. Their platelet counts fell below normal levels several times during their treatment. However, their radiotherapy and chemotherapy had never been interrupted due to thrombocytopenia.

Conclusion

Grade III thrombocytopenia is a rare paraneoplastic syndrome in patients with NPC. These patients can tolerate the aggressive definitive management of radiotherapy and chemotherapy with supportive care. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Head Neck, 2012