Treatment of nasopharyngeal carcinoma using intensity-modulated radiotherapy-the national cancer centre singapore experience

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2009 Dec 1;75(5):1481-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2009.01.018. Epub 2009 Apr 20.


Purpose: The aim of this study was to determine the efficacy and acute toxicity of our early experience with treating nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) patients with intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT).

Methods and materials: A review was conducted on case records of 195 patients with histologically proven, nonmetastatic NPC treated with IMRT between 2002 and 2005. MRI of the head and neck was fused with CT simulation images. All plans had target volumes at three dose levels, with a prescribed dose of 70 Gy to the gross disease, in 2.0-2.12 Gy/fraction over 33-35 fractions. Cisplatin-based chemotherapy was offered to Stage III/IV patients.

Results: Median patient age was 52 years, and 69% were male. Median follow-up was 36.5 months. One hundred and twenty-three patients had Stage III/IV disease (63%); 50 (26%) had T4 disease. One hundred and eighty-eight (96%) had complete response; 7 (4%) had partial response. Of the complete responders, 10 (5.3%) had local recurrence, giving a 3-year local recurrence-free survival estimate of 93.1% and a 3-year disease-free survival of 82.1%. Fifty-one patients (26%) had at least one Grade 3 toxicity.

Conclusions: Results from our series are comparable to those reported by other centers. Acute toxicity is common. Local failure or persistent disease, especially in patients with bulky T4 disease, are issues that must be addressed in future trials.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cancer Care Facilities
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Cisplatin / therapeutic use
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Dose Fractionation, Radiation
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / pathology
  • Radiotherapy Planning, Computer-Assisted
  • Radiotherapy, Intensity-Modulated / methods*
  • Remission Induction
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Singapore
  • Tumor Burden
  • Young Adult


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Cisplatin