Purpose: Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is a central tumor with a rich lymphatic network and a propensity for bilateral cervical lymph node metastasis. There is an orderly pattern of lymph node involvement in NPC. There is no current standard for prophylactic neck irradiation in node-negative or limited retropharyngeal (RP) node-positive NPC. This study aims to synthesize the current evidence on upper neck irradiation (UNI) versus whole neck irradiation (WNI) as prophylactic neck irradiation in node-negative or limited RP node-positive NPC.
Materials and Methods: A search of relevant articles was done from 2000 to October 2015. Critical appraisal and meta-analysis of the eligible studies were undertaken to assess the effectiveness of UNI versus WNI as prophylactic neck irradiation in node-negative or limited involved RP node NPC.
Results: Only one randomized controlled trial investigated the use of prophylactic UNI versus WNI and showed no confirmed nodal relapse in both arms. Pooled analysis of four retrospective studies showed no significant difference in nodal recurrence, whether in-field or out-of-field recurrence. There was also no significant difference in terms of 5-year distant metastasis-free and overall survival.
Conclusion: In node-negative or limited RP node-positive NPC, the current evidence shows the possibility of treating only the upper neck (levels II, III, and VA) without compromising nodal control, distant metastasis, and overall survival. As a result of the scarcity of data, more randomized clinical trials are warranted in this subset of patients.
|Number of pages||11|
|Journal||Journal of Global Oncology|
|Early online date||30 Nov 2016|
|Publication status||Published - 2018|
- Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC)
- Neck irradiation
- Patient outcomes
- Meta analysis