Baseline serum lactate dehydrogenase levels for patients treated with intensity-modulated radiotherapy for nasopharyngeal carcinoma: a predictor of poor prognosis and subsequent liver metastasis

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2012 Mar 1;82(3):e359-65. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2011.06.1967. Epub 2011 Oct 12.


Purpose: To evaluate the prognostic value of baseline serum lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) levels in patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) treated with intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT).

Methods and materials: Cases of NPC (n = 465) that involved treatment with IMRT with or without chemotherapy were retrospectively analyzed.

Results: The mean (±SD) and median baseline serum LDH levels for this cohort were 172.77 ± 2.28 and 164.00 IU/L, respectively. Levels of LDH were significantly elevated in patients with locoregionally advanced disease (p = 0.016). Elevated LDH levels were identified as a prognostic factor for rates of overall survival (OS), disease-free survival (DFS), and distant metastasis-free survival (DMFS), with p values <0.001 in the univariate analysis and p < 0.001, p = 0.004, and p = 0.003, respectively, in the multivariate analysis. Correspondingly, the prognostic impact of patient LDH levels was found to be statistically significant for rates of OS, DFS, and DMFS (p = 0.028, 0.024, and 0.020, respectively). For patients who experienced subsequent liver failure after treatment, markedly higher pretreatment serum LDH levels were detected compared with patients experiencing distant metastasis events at other sites (p = 0.032).

Conclusions: Elevated baseline LDH levels are associated with clinically advanced disease and are a poor prognosticator for OS, DFS, and DMFS for NPC patients. These results suggest that elevated serum levels of LDH should be considered when evaluating treatment options.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / blood*
  • Carcinoma / blood*
  • Carcinoma / mortality
  • Carcinoma / pathology
  • Carcinoma / radiotherapy
  • Carcinoma / secondary
  • China
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Humans
  • L-Lactate Dehydrogenase / blood*
  • Liver Neoplasms / secondary*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / blood*
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / mortality
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Neoplasm Staging / methods
  • Prognosis
  • Radiotherapy, Intensity-Modulated*
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • L-Lactate Dehydrogenase