Background: Recurrent undifferentiated nasopharyngeal carcinoma is a chemosensitive disease. Few third-line treatments have been reported.
Methods: Twelve patients (9 males, 3 females; median age 50 years, range, 20-62) with recurrent undifferentiated nasopharyngeal carcinoma were treated with carboplatin AUC 5.5 + paclitaxel (175 mg/m2, 3-hr infusion) on day 1 every 3 weeks. All patients had been previously treated for recurrent disease with a first-line cisplatin-based chemotherapy and a second-line therapy with low-dose continuous infusion 5-fluorouracil.
Results: Overall, 54 courses were given (median, 5; range, 2-6). Three patients (25%) obtained a partial response lasting 6, 10 and 26+ months, 1 (8.3%) a minimal response lasting 6 months, and 3 (25%) no change with a median duration of 5 months. The median survival time was 14 months for patients who had a partial or minimal response or no change, and 5 months for nonresponders. Median overall survival was 9.5 months (3-30+). The treatment was well tolerated, and toxicity was manageable.
Conclusions: The combination has a good palliative role as third-line chemotherapy in recurrent undifferentiated nasopharyngeal cancer.