Analysis of Plasma Epstein-Barr Virus DNA in Nasopharyngeal Cancer After Chemoradiation to Identify High-Risk Patients for Adjuvant Chemotherapy: A Randomized Controlled Trial
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The contribution of adjuvant chemotherapy after chemoradiation therapy (CRT) in nasopharyngeal cancer (NPC) remains controversial. Plasma Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) DNA is a potential biomarker of subclinical residual disease in NPC. In this prospective, multicenter, randomized controlled trial, we used plasma EBV DNA to identify patients with NPC at a higher risk of relapse for adjuvant chemotherapy.
Patients and Methods:
Eligible patients with histologically confirmed NPC of Union for International Cancer Control stage IIB to IVB, adequate organ function, and no locoregional disease or distant metastasis were screened by plasma EBV DNA at 6 to 8 weeks after radiotherapy (RT). Patients with undetectable plasma EBV DNA underwent standard surveillance. Patients with detectable plasma EBV DNA were randomly assigned to either adjuvant chemotherapy with cisplatin and gemcitabine for six cycles (arm 1) or observation (arm 2). Patients were stratified for primary treatment (RT v CRT) and stage (II/III v IV). The primary end point was relapse-free survival (RFS).
Seven hundred eighty-nine patients underwent EBV DNA screening. Plasma EBV DNA was undetectable in 573 (72.6%) and detectable in 216 (27.4%); 104 (13.2%) with detectable EBV DNA were randomly assigned to arms 1 (n = 52) and 2 (n = 52). After a median follow-up of 6.6 years, no significant difference was found in 5-year RFS rate between arms 1 and 2 (49.3% v 54.7%; P = .75; hazard ratio for relapse or death, 1.09; 95% CI, 0.63 to 1.89). The level of post-RT plasma EBV DNA correlated significantly with the hazards of locoregional failure, distant metastasis, and death.
In patients with NPC with detectable post-RT plasma EBV DNA, adjuvant chemotherapy with cisplatin and gemcitabine did not improve RFS. Post-RT plasma EBV DNA level should be incorporated as the selection factor in future clinical trials of adjuvant therapy in NPC.
Acceptance Date10/07/2018
All Author(s) ListChan ATC, Hui EP, Ngan RKC, Tung SY, Cheng ACK, Ng WT, Lee VHF, Ma BBY, Cheng HC, Wong FCS, Loong HHF, Tong M, Poon DMC, Ahuja AT, King AD, Wang K, Mo F, Zee BCY, Chan KCA, Lo YMD
Journal nameJournal of Clinical Oncology
Volume Number36
Issue Number31
PublisherAmerican Society of Clinical Oncology
Place of PublicationUnited States
Pages3091 - 3100
LanguagesEnglish-United Kingdom
KeywordsNasopharyngeal cancer

Last updated on 2021-21-09 at 00:04