Intracavity hyperthermia in nasopharyngeal cancer: a phase III clinical study

Int J Hyperthermia. 2011;27(2):180-6. doi: 10.3109/02656736.2010.503982. Epub 2010 Sep 21.


Purpose: To compare the local tumour control, survival, and acute mucous toxicity of nasopharyngeal cancer (NPC) patients treated with conventional radiotherapy (RT) combined with intracavity hyperthermia versus conventional RT alone.

Methods and materials: Previously untreated NPC patients were assigned randomly into the conventional RT group and the hyperthermia group. In addition to curative RT, hyperthermia group patients received intracavity hyperthermia before or after RT; T90 was 42.5°-43°C for 50 min twice a week for 7 weeks.

Results: From August 2001 to July 2006, 180 eligible patients with NPC were enrolled in this study. The complete response (CR) rate in the two arms (RT plus hyperthermia versus conventional RT) was 95.6% and 81.1%, respectively (p = 0.003, χ² test). CR rates for T2 and T3 patients in the hyperthermia group were 97.1% and 96.9%, respectively, while in the conventional RT group they were 79.5% and 76.7%, respectively. The difference between the two groups was statistically significant (p = 0.03 and p = 0.024, respectively). The 5-year local control rate was 91.1% and 78.9% for the two arms, respectively (p = 0.022). Oral mucous toxicity in both arms was comparable. The 5-year PFS and 5-year OS rate for the hyperthermia arm vs. the conventional arm were 72.7% versus 63.1% (p = 0.039) and 78.2% versus 70.3% (p = 0.14), respectively.

Conclusions: Conventional RT treatment followed by intracavity hyperthermia was well tolerated by the NPC patients. The addition of hyperthermia improved the local tumour control, and our results indicated a positive impact on PFS of NPC patients.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperthermia, Induced / adverse effects
  • Hyperthermia, Induced / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mouth Mucosa / radiation effects
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Remission Induction
  • Treatment Outcome