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Evolutionary role of chemotherapy in advanced nasopharyngeal carcinoma: a literature-based network meta-analysis

Authors Li L, Liang W, Zhu JX, Dong CJ, Zou YM, Ye BC, Gao L

Received 30 August 2018

Accepted for publication 22 November 2018

Published 4 January 2019 Volume 2019:11 Pages 501—512


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Rituraj Purohit

Li Li,1 Wei Liang,1 Jin-Xian Zhu,1 Chun-Jie Dong,2 Yuan-Mei Zou,1 Bi-Cui Ye,1 Lin Gao1

1Department of Radiation Oncology, Wuzhou Red Cross Hospital, Wuzhou, Guangxi, People’s Republic of China; 2Department of Internal Medicine, The Second Hospital of Fushun, Fushun, Liaoning, People’s Republic of China

Purpose: The role of chemotherapy has evolved greatly in advanced nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). We undertook this network meta-analysis to establish the optimal chemotherapy strategy in advanced NPC.
Materials and methods:
This network meta-analysis recruited randomized clinical trials involving patients with advanced NPC randomly allocated to induction chemotherapy plus concurrent chemoradiotherapy (CRT; induction + CRT), CRT plus adjuvant chemotherapy (CRT + adjuvant), CRT or radiotherapy (RT) alone. Pairwise meta-analysis was first conducted, then network meta-analysis was performed using the frequentist approach. Effect size was expressed as HR and 95% CI.
In total, we analyzed 15 studies involving 4,067 patients with 880 (21.6%) patients receiving induction + CRT, 897 (22.1%) receiving CRT + adjuvant, 1,421 (34.9%) receiving CRT, and 869 (21.4%) receiving RT alone. Induction + CRT achieved significantly better distant failure-free survival (HR, 0.67; 95% CI, 0.53–0.86) and locoregional failure-free survival (HR, 0.69; 95% CI, 0.54–0.89) than CRT, and CRT + adjuvant achieved better overall survival than CRT (HR, 0.82; 95% CI, 0.67–1.00). However, no significant survival difference was found between the induction + CRT and CRT + adjuvant groups. Additionally, RT alone is always worse than the other three treatments. In terms of P-score, induction + CRT ranked best for distant and locoregional failure-free survival, while CRT + adjuvant ranked best for overall survival.
Conclusion: Both induction + CRT and CRT + adjuvant were equally effective and feasible choices for patients with advanced NPC.

nasopharyngeal carcinoma, advanced, concurrent chemoradiotherapy, induction chemotherapy, adjuvant chemotherapy, network meta-analysis

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