Adding concomitant chemotherapy to radiotherapy significantly improves survival in patients with advanced nasopharyngeal carcinoma, according to a recent study published online ahead of print in The Lancet Oncology.

Pierre Blanchard, MD, of Paris-Saclay University in France, and fellow researchers conducted a meta-analysis of 4,806 patients from 19 trials that measured radiotherapy with or without chemotherapy in patients with non-metastatic nasopharyngeal carcinoma.

The researchers found that addition of chemotherapy to radiotherapy significantly improved overall survival in these patients.

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The benefit was consistent for all endpoints – progression-free survival, locoregional control, distant control and cancer mortality.

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Interaction between the benefit and timing of chemotherapy showed significant favorability for  concomitant plus adjuvant chemotherapy as well as concomitant without adjuvant chemotherapy, but not either adjuvant or induction chemotherapy alone.

“To our knowledge, this is the first analysis that examines the effect of concomitant chemotherapy with and without adjuvant chemotherapy as distinct groups,” the authors concluded. “Further studies on the specific benefits of adjuvant chemotherapy after concomitant chemoradiotherapy are needed.”


  1. Blanchard, Pierre, MD, et al. “Chemotherapy and radiotherapy in nasopharyngeal carcinoma: an update on the MAC-NPC meta-analysis.” The Lancet Oncology. DOI: [epub ahead of print]. May 6, 2015.