Concurrent Weekly Docetaxel Chemotherapy in Combination with Radiotherapy for Stage III and IVA-B Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma


Background and Purpose: Cisplatin is the most common chemotherapeutic agent for loco-regionally advanced nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC); however, toxicity is a limiting factor for some patients. We retrospectively compared the efficacy and toxicity of weekly docetaxel-based and cisplatin-based concurrent chemoradiotherapy in loco-regionally advanced NPC. Methods and Materials: Eighty-four patients with Stage III and IVA-B NPCs, treated between 2007 and 2008, were retrospectively analyzed. Thirty received weekly docetaxel-based concurrent chemotherapy, and 43 were given weekly cisplatin-based concurrent chemotherapy. Radiotherapy was administered using a conventional technique (seven weeks, 2.0 Gy per fraction, total dose 70-74 Gy) with 6-8 Gy boosts for some patients with locally advanced disease.
Results: Median follow-up time was 42.3 months (range, 8.6-50.8 months). There were no significant differences in the 3-year loco-regional failure-free survival (85.6% vs. 92.3%; p=0.264), distant failure-free survival (87.0% vs. 92.5%; p=0.171), progression-free survival (85.7% vs. 88.4%; p=0.411) or overall survival (86.5% vs. 92.5%, p=0.298) of patients treated concurrently with docetaxel or cisplatin. Severe toxicity was not common in either group.
Conclusions: Weekly docetaxel-based concurrent chemoradiotherapy is potentially effective and has a tolerable toxicity; however, further investigations are required to determine if docetaxel is superior to cisplatin for advanced stage NPC.