Open and endoscopic surgery improve survival for squamous and nonsquamous cell nasopharyngeal carcinomas: An NCDB cohort study

Int Forum Allergy Rhinol. 2022 Nov;12(11):1350-1361. doi: 10.1002/alr.23000. Epub 2022 Mar 31.


Background: Nasopharyngeal tumors (NPTs) are primarily treated with nonsurgical therapy. Recent studies have demonstrated endoscopic salvage surgery for NPT recurrences may improve survival relative to reirradiation. However, there are very limited data on open compared with endoscopic approaches for NPTs. We investigated whether endoscopic and open surgical approaches to the nasopharynx improve overall survival for all histologic subtypes of NPTs.

Methods: We performed a retrospective cohort study using the National Cancer Database (NCDB). All adult patients with NPTs from 2004 to 2016 without distant metastasis who underwent treatment with curative intent were included. We extracted clinical and treatment variables to assess our primary outcome of overall survival.

Results: On univariate analysis, patients undergoing endoscopic surgery, but not open surgery, had significantly improved overall survival relative to those undergoing nonsurgical treatment. Post hoc analysis demonstrated significantly improved overall survival for surgery in patients with minor salivary gland histology, but not squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) histology or by T or N classification. A Cox proportional hazards model was used for multivariate regression. After adjusting for covariates, both endoscopic and open approaches were associated with improved overall survival relative to nonsurgical treatment for all tumor types. A multivariate regression of SCC found that open surgery, but not endoscopic surgery, was significantly associated with improved overall survival.

Conclusion: Both endoscopic and open surgical approaches are associated with improved overall survival of patients with NPT. These findings highlight important oncologic validity as endoscopic and robotic platforms to the nasopharynx become more widely adopted.

Keywords: endoscopic skull base surgery; nasopharyngeal carcinoma; nasopharyngectomy.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Humans
  • Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local* / surgery
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Rate
  • Treatment Outcome