Value of early evaluation of treatment response using 18F-FDG PET/CT parameters and the Epstein-Barr virus DNA load for prediction of outcome in patients with primary nasopharyngeal carcinoma
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To determine the value of early evaluation of response to concurrent chemoradiotherapy (CCRT) using 18F-FDG PET-derived parameters and the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) DNA titre in outcome prediction in patients with primary nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC).
Sixty patients with primary NPC were prospectively enrolled. All patients underwent 18F-FDG PET/CT before and during CCRT. The plasma EBV DNA titre was measured along with the PET/CT-derived parameters. Changes in EBV DNA titre and PET/CT-derived parameters during CCRT were analysed in relation to response to treatment, recurrence-free survival (RFS) and overall survival (OS).
A total lesion glycolysis (TLG) reduction ratio of ≤0.6 and a detectable EBV DNA titre during CCRT were predictors of an unfavourable response to treatment, RFS and OS. In multivariate analysis, a TLG reduction ratio of ≤0.6 predicted incomplete remission (p = 0.002) and decreased RFS (p = 0.003). The proportion of patients with a TLG reduction ratio of >0.6 who achieved a complete response was more than twice that of patients with a TLG reduction ratio of ≤0.6. A detectable EBV DNA titre, a TLG reduction ratio of ≤0.6 and older age were independently associated with a poorer OS (p = 0.037, 0.009 and 0.016, respectively). A scoring system was developed based on these independent predictors of OS. Patients with a score of 1 and 2/3 had poorer survival outcomes than those with a score of 0 (hazard ratio 4.756, p = 0.074, and hazard ratio 18.973, p = 0.001, respectively). This scoring system appeared to be superior to the traditional TNM staging system (p < 0.001 versus p = 0.175).
Early evaluation of response to CCRT using 18F-FDG PET-derived parameters and the EBV DNA titre can predict outcome in patients with primary NPC. A combination of interim PET parameters and the EBV DNA titre enables better stratification of patients into subgroups with different survival rates.
KeywordsNasopharyngeal carcinoma 18F-FDG PET Epstein-Barr virus Treatment response Prognosis Head and neck cancer
We acknowledge the support of the Taiwan Ministry of Science and Technology and the Chang Gung Memorial Hospital
This study was partially supported by the Taiwan Ministry of Science and Technology (grants NSC 100-2314-B-182A-053, NSC 101-2314-B-182A-079, NSC 102-2314-B-182A-096, and NSC 104-2314-B-182A-084-MY3) and the Chang Gung Memorial Hospital (grant CMRPG 2E0191~3).
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflicts of interest
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the principles of the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. All patients whose data are included in this manuscript signed a written informed consent.
Informed consent was obtained from all the study participants.
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