New surgical staging system for patients with recurrent nasopharyngeal carcinoma based on the AJCC/UICC rTNM classification system

Eur J Cancer. 2015 Sep;51(13):1771-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ejca.2015.05.014. Epub 2015 Jun 5.


Background: Recurrent tumour, node and metastasis (rTNM) stage system does not have an outstanding prognostic value for survival outcome of patients with recurrent nasopharyngeal carcinoma (rNPC) and it cannot aid the clinicians to choose the most suitable treatment for these patients.

Methods: In total, 894 rNPC patients were consecutively enroled. All recurrent (r) tumour (T) stages (rT) and node (N) stages (rN) were stratified as resectable and unresectable based on the imaging data of the head and neck. These stages were re-subdivided into surgical T stages (sT) and surgical N stages (sN) with similar clinical characteristics and death risks and were re-integrated into a new 'surgical' stage using a Cox proportional hazards model.

Results: The 5-year overall survival (OS) was 72.0%, 55.1%, 21.1% and 10.1% in 'surgical' stages I, II, III and IV, respectively (P<0.001). The 'surgical' stage was a significant independent prognostic factor for OS (hazard ratio [HR] 1.78, P<0.001) and exhibited enhanced prognostic value compared with the rTNM staging system (area under receiver operating characteristics 0.68 versus 0.63, P<0.001). Endoscopic nasopharyngectomy and intensity-modulated radiation therapy were significant independent positive prognostic factors for the OS of patients with primary lesions in 'surgical' stage I/II and 'surgical' stage III, respectively (P<0.05). A combination of aggressive treatments for loco-regional lesions exhibited a beneficial trend for OS of patients with 'surgical' stage IV (P>0.05).

Conclusions: Compared with the rTNM stage system, the 'surgical' staging system exhibited enhanced prognostic value for rNPC patient survival and could aid clinicians in choosing the most suitable treatment for rNPC patients.

Keywords: Management; Nasopharyngeal carcinoma; Radiotherapy; Recurrence; Staging; Surgery.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Area Under Curve
  • Carcinoma
  • Decision Support Techniques*
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / mortality
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local*
  • Neoplasm Staging / methods*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • ROC Curve
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed