Treatment for metastatic nasopharyngeal carcinoma

Eur Ann Otorhinolaryngol Head Neck Dis. 2011 Apr;128(2):79-85. doi: 10.1016/j.anorl.2010.10.003. Epub 2010 Dec 21.


Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is a specific entity different from head and neck carcinoma. Incidence is higher in South-East Asia and North Africa. Prognosis, especially for locally advanced stages (IIB - IVB) and metastasis, remains poor: more than third of cases will present local and/or metastatic recurrence. Overall 5-year survival for all NPC stages ranges from 50% to 70%. The role of chemotherapy in metastasis is well established, and remains an important palliative treatment, although no randomized trial has been reported comparing the different chemotherapy regimens. As 1(st)-line treatment, platin-based regimens seems optimal; in 2(nd) line and after progression under platins, there is no consensus: monotherapy with drugs such as gemcitabine, capecitabine or taxanes has been the most widely tested, with acceptable results. Future trials should integrate targeted therapy, in the light of overexpression of EGFR1 and C-kit in NPC. The present study presents a review of the literature concerning the various studies of metastatic NPC.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Carcinoma / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma / pathology*
  • Carcinoma / radiotherapy
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / radiotherapy
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • Humans
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / drug therapy
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / pathology
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prognosis
  • Radiotherapy, Adjuvant


  • Antineoplastic Agents