The efficacy of first-line chemotherapy in recurrent or metastatic nasopharyngeal carcinoma: a systematic review and metaanalysis

Shu-Xiang Ma, Ting Zhou, Yan Huang, Yun-Peng Yang, Jian-Hua Zhan, Ya-Xiong Zhang, Zhong-Han Zhang, Yuan-Yuan Zhao, Wen-Feng Fang, Yu-Xiang Ma, Li-Kun Chen, Hong-Yun Zhao, Li Zhang


Background: The standard first-line chemotherapy for patients with recurrent or metastatic nasopharyngeal carcinoma (R/M NPC) has not been well established. We conducted a pooled meta-analysis to evaluate the efficacy of commonly used first-line chemotherapy in this disease.
Methods: Electronic databases including PubMed, Embase, and Corchrane library were searched for eligible literatures. Objective response rate (ORR), disease control rate (DCR), progression free survival (PFS), and overall survival (OS) were pooled with the 95% confidence interval (CI) using R software.
Results: Totally 973 patients were available for analysis from 14 phase II single arm clinical trials and 2 phase III randomized clinical trials. Four regimens were identified including 5-fluorouracil plus platinum (FP), gemcitabine plus platinum (GP), taxanes plus platinum (TP), and triplet combination regimen. Of these four regimens, triplet combination regimen demonstrated best short-term efficacy with a highest ORR (0.74; 95% CI, 0.62–0.87), DCR (0.91; 95% CI, 0.87–0.95), and 6-month PFS rate (0.83; 95% CI, 0.75–0.91), while 1-year OS rate (0.74; 95% CI, 0.61–0.87) was a little lower than TP regimen. Meanwhile, TP regimen showed best prognosis with a highest 1-year OS rate of 0.79 (95% CI, 0.65–0.92) and pretty good short-term efficacy with an ORR of 0.60 (95% CI, 0.48–0.72) and a DCR of 0.92 (95% CI, 0.86–0.98) comparable with triplet combination therapy. FP regimen had the lowest ORR (0.52; 95% CI, 0.38–0.65) and 1-year OS rate (0.63; 95% CI, 0.57–0.69). Efficacy of GP regimen fell between FP and TP regimens with an ORR of 0.54 (95% CI, 0.38–0.65), a DCR of 0.85 (95% CI, 0.71–0.93), a 6-month PFS rate of 0.69 (95% CI, 0.60–0.78) and a 1-year OS rate of 0.71 (95% CI, 0.61–0.80).
Conclusions: Among four commonly used first-line chemotherapy regimens for R/M NPC, triplet combination regimen showed best short-term efficacy but failed to improve prognosis. TP regimen demonstrated fairly good short-term efficacy and best long-term efficacy, followed by GP regimen, while FP regimen was the lowest.