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. 2018 May 2;13(5):e0196730.
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0196730. eCollection 2018.

The Current Status of Clinical Trials Focusing on Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma: A Comprehensive Analysis of Database

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The Current Status of Clinical Trials Focusing on Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma: A Comprehensive Analysis of Database

Hao Peng et al. PLoS One. .
Free PMC article


Purpose: Clinical Trials have emerged as the main force in driving the development of medicine. However, little is known about the current status of clinical trials regarding nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). This study aimed at providing a comprehensive landscape of NPC-related trials on the basis of database.

Patients and methods: We used the keyword "nasopharyngeal carcinoma" to search the database and assessed the characteristics of these trials.

Results: Up to December 30, 2016, 462 eligible trials in total were identified, of which 222 (48.0%) recruited only NPC (NPC trials) and the other 240 (52.0%) recruited both NPC and other cancers (multiple cancer trials). Moreover, 47 (10.2%) were Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-related trials and 267 (57.8%) focused on metastatic/recurrent disease. Compared with NPC trials, the multiple cancer trials had a higher percentage of phase 1 (26.7% vs. 6.7%, P < 0.001) studies and more patients with metastatic/recurrent disease (72.5% vs. 41.9%, P < 0.001). Notably, non-EBV trials had more phase 2 or 3 (78.4% vs. 48.8%, P < 0.001) and interventional studies (89.5% vs. 70.7%, P = 0.002) than EBV trials. Obviously, more phase 2/3 or 3 trials were conducted in patients with non-metastatic/recurrent disease (29.4% vs. 4.9%, P < 0.001); however, metastatic/recurrent trials were more likely to be anticancer (94.6% vs. 63.6%, P < 0.001).

Conclusions: The role of plasma EBV DNA in clinical trials is underestimated, and high-level randomized clinical trials should be performed for patients with metastatic/recurrent disease.

Conflict of interest statement

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.


Fig 1
Fig 1. Flowchart of recruited NPC and multiple cancer trials registered with by December 30, 2016.
Abbreviations: NPC = nasopharyngeal carcinoma.
Fig 2
Fig 2. Distribution of NPC and multiple cancer trials according to registered year in database.
Abbreviations: NPC = nasopharyngeal carcinoma.
Fig 3
Fig 3. Distribution of EBV-related trials according to registered year in database up.
Abbreviations: EBV = Epstein-Barr virus.

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This work was supported by grants from the National Science & Technology Pillar Program during the Twelfth Five-year Plan Period (2014BAI09B10); the Health & Medical Collaborative Innovation Project of Guangzhou City, China (201400000001) and the Science and Technology Project of Guangzhou City, China (14570006). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.