Nasopharyngeal carcinoma medical therapy

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1] Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Homa Najafi, M.D.[2]Faizan Sheraz, M.D. [3]


The mainstay of therapy for nasopharyngeal carcinoma is external beam radiotherapy, supplemented in some cases with chemotherapy. Chemotherapy drugs that are used in treatment of nasopharyngeal carcinoma are vast, but the two ones which are used more include Cisplatin and 5-Fluorouracil.

Medical Therapy

The mainstay of therapy for nasopharyngeal carcinoma is external beam radiotherapy.[1][2][3][4]

Treatment according to Stages

Stage Treatment

Stage 1

Stage 2

Stage 3

Stage 4

Medical Therapy

Note (1): Urine output should be maintain more than 100-150 ml/ hr.

Note (2): Anti-emetic treatment should be done in all patients.

Note (1): In patients with liver diseases dose reduction should be considered.

Note (2): Using this drug in familial pyrimidenemia patients can cause fatal neurotoxicity.


  1. Pastor, M.; Lopez Pousa, A.; del Barco, E.; Perez Segura, P.; Astorga, B. Gonzalez; Castelo, B.; Bonfill, T.; Martinez Trufero, J.; Grau, J. Jose; Mesia, R. (2017). "SEOM clinical guideline in nasopharynx cancer (2017)". Clinical and Translational Oncology. 20 (1): 84–88. doi:10.1007/s12094-017-1777-0. ISSN 1699-048X.
  2. Lee, Anne W.M.; Ng, Wai Tong; Chan, Lucy L.K.; Hung, Wai Man; Chan, Connie C.C.; Sze, Henry C.K.; Chan, Oscar S.H.; Chang, Amy T.Y.; Yeung, Rebecca M.W. (2014). "Evolution of treatment for nasopharyngeal cancer – Success and setback in the intensity-modulated radiotherapy era". Radiotherapy and Oncology. 110 (3): 377–384. doi:10.1016/j.radonc.2014.02.003. ISSN 0167-8140.
  3. Chua, Daniel T.T.; Ma, Jun; Sham, Jonathan S.T.; Mai, Hai-Qiang; Choy, Damon T.K.; Hong, Ming-Huang; Lu, Tai-Xiang; Au, Gordon K.H.; Min, Hua-Qing (2006). "Improvement of survival after addition of induction chemotherapy to radiotherapy in patients with early-stage nasopharyngeal carcinoma: Subgroup analysis of two Phase III trials". International Journal of Radiation Oncology*Biology*Physics. 65 (5): 1300–1306. doi:10.1016/j.ijrobp.2006.02.016. ISSN 0360-3016.
  4. Ribassin-Majed, Laureen; Marguet, Sophie; Lee, Anne W.M.; Ng, Wai Tong; Ma, Jun; Chan, Anthony T.C.; Huang, Pei-Yu; Zhu, Guopei; Chua, Daniel T.T.; Chen, Yong; Mai, Hai-Qiang; Kwong, Dora L.W.; Cheah, Shie-Lee; Moon, James; Tung, Yuk; Chi, Kwan-Hwa; Fountzilas, George; Bourhis, Jean; Pignon, Jean Pierre; Blanchard, Pierre (2017). "What Is the Best Treatment of Locally Advanced Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma? An Individual Patient Data Network Meta-Analysis". Journal of Clinical Oncology. 35 (5): 498–505. doi:10.1200/JCO.2016.67.4119. ISSN 0732-183X.
  5. Decker, David A.; Drelichman, Anibal; Al-Sarraf, Muhyi; Crissman, John; Reed, Melvin L. (1983). "Chemotherapy for nasopharyngeal carcinoma a ten-year experience". Cancer. 52 (4): 602–605. doi:10.1002/1097-0142(19830815)52:4<602::AID-CNCR2820520404>3.0.CO;2-6. ISSN 0008-543X.
  6. K. Al-Kourainy, J. Crissman, J. Ensley, J. Kish, J. Kelly & M. Al-Sarraf (1988). "Excellent response to cis-platinum-based chemotherapy in patients with recurrent or previously untreated advanced nasopharyngeal carcinoma". American journal of clinical oncology. 11 (4): 427–430. PMID 2457306. Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  7. Al-Sarraf, Muhyi (1987). "Chemotherapeutic management of head and neck cancer". Cancer and Metastasis Review. 6 (3): 181–198. doi:10.1007/BF00144263. ISSN 0167-7659.
  8. M. Al-Sarraf (1988). "Head and neck cancer: chemotherapy concepts". Seminars in oncology. 15 (1): 70–85. PMID 3278391. Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)

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