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Radiation and chemotherapy combination for nasopharyngeal carcinoma in children: Radiotherapy dose adaptation after chemotherapy response to minimize late effects


  • All authors disclose any financial and personal relationships with other people or organizations that could inappropriately influence their work.



To retrospectively report the clinical and therapeutic features of children with nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) treated by chemotherapy and doses adapted of radiotherapy.

Patients and Methods

From 1978 to 2005, 34 children were treated for NPC. All histologic and/or cytologic samples and CT scans were reviewed. Cervical nodal irradiation was reduced (<50 Gy) in the case of a good response to chemotherapy (≥90% of initial tumor volume).


Thirty-two children had metastatic cervical nodes and one child had systemic metastases at diagnosis. All children had AJJC-TNM Stage IV. Thirty-one children received neoadjuvant chemotherapy with various regimens. The overall chemotherapy response rate was 78%. Fifteen patients had cervical nodal irradiation dose reduced: Median 47 Gy (range: 45–50). Nasopharyngeal radiotherapy was delivered at a dose of 59.4 Gy (range: 45–66). Local and distant failure rates were 10% and 18%, respectively. The 5-year overall survival was 73 ± 8% and the event-free survival (EFS) was 75 ± 8%.


The overall prognosis was not influenced by TNM status, dose of local radiotherapy delivered or response to initial chemotherapy, but EFS was better in patients with a good response to chemotherapy. The cervical local failure rate was low despite radiotherapy dose reduction in the case of a good response to neoadjuvant chemotherapy. We also propose a reduction of nasopharyngeal radiation (≤50 Gy) in the case of good response to initial chemotherapy. Pediatr Blood Cancer 2008;50:849–853. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.