Objectives: To describe the characteristics of familial nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) in a high-risk population and to determine the role of screening first-degree relations.
Design: An analysis on a cohort of 200 patients newly diagnosed as having NPC.
Setting: A tertiary-level institution.
Patients: The patients were divided into 2 groups. Patients in group 1 had a first-degree relative with NPC, and those in group 2 did not. For patients in group 1, the relationship and the time interval between affected relatives were noted. The clinical and pathological factors of the 2 groups were obtained and statistically analyzed.
Results: There were 15.5% of NPC patients who had an affected first-degree relative. Of the affected relatives, 71% were siblings and 29% were parents. The mean interval between affected siblings was 5.3 years, while that between an affected parent and a child was 24.5 years. No differences were noted in the clinical factors between familial and nonfamilial NPC patients. Most patients in both groups were diagnosed as having stage III or IV NPC.
Conclusions: The rate of familial NPC in our study is 15.5%. Siblings are more commonly affected, and the interval between 2 affected siblings is relatively short. No distinct clinical pattern exists in familial NPC. We recommend that siblings of NPC patients be screened as soon as possible once the index case is diagnosed.