Document Type : Research Articles
Department of Environmental Health Sciences, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI, Thailand.
Cancer Unit, Srinagarind Hospital, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, Thailand.
Lampang Cancer Hospital, Lampang, Thailand.
Faculty of Medicine, Chiang Mai University, Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Songkhla Cancer Registry, Prince of Songkla University, Songkhla, Thailand.
Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Faculty of Medicine, Khon Kaen University, Thailand.
Background: While nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is rare in non-endemic regions such as the North America, endemic countries, such as Thailand, continue to struggle with high incidence and mortality rates. NPC has a complex etiology that varies by histological subtype. Methods: NPC cases (1990-2014) were identified using the International Classification of Diseases for Oncology (ICD-O) code C11 from the Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen, Lampang, and Songkhla cancer registries and compared to Asian/Pacific Islanders (A/PI) from the US SEER program. Age-standardized incidence rates and changes in annual percent change (APC) for overall and subtype specific NPC were assessed using R and Joinpoint. Kaplan Meier curves were generated in SAS to evaluate differences in survival by sex, year of diagnosis and histological subtype. Five-year relative survival estimates were calculated between 2000-2014. Results: Non-keratinizing NPC predominated across all registries except Songkhla, where the keretinizing subtype made up ~60% of all reported cases. Incidence of keratinizing NPC significantly decreased among Chiang Mai males between 1996 and 2014 (APC:-13.0 [95%CI:-16.2, -9.6]), Songkhla females (APC:-4.0 [95%CI: -7.4, -0.5]) and males between 2006 and 2014 (APC:-15.5 [95%CI:-25.0, -4.7]), as well as A/PI females (APC:-5.1 [95%CI:-6,7, -3.4]) and males (APC: -4.8 [95%CI:-5.9, -3.7]). Non-keratinizing NPC increased among Songkhla males (APC:4.3 [95%CI:1.8, 6.9]). The keratinizing subtype exhibited the worst survival, while the non-keratinizing undifferentiated subtype had the best survival. Although US A/PI had the highest 5-year relative survival estimates, among the Thai registries Chiang Mai had the best and Lampang the worst survival. Conclusion: Although US A/PIs exhibited similar rates of NPC as seen in the endemic Thai population, improved tobacco control has led to a decrease in keratinizing NPC incidence irrespective of geography. Additionally, while challenges associate with access to care may still exist among rural Thais, chemoradiation was shown to confer a survival benefit in non-keratinizing NPC treatment.