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Nodal grouping in nasopharyngeal carcinoma: prognostic significance, N classification, and a marker for the identification of candidates for induction chemotherapy

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ARTICLE DOWNLOAD

Nodal grouping in nasopharyngeal carcinoma: prognostic significance, N classification, and a marker for the identification of candidates for induction chemotherapy

10$

Yifei Liu, Shenghuan Chen, Annan Dong, Fei Ai, Tingting Quan, Chunyan Cui, Jian Zhou, Shaobo Liang, Jiamin Wang, Shunxin Wang, Ling Hua, Shuoyu Xu, Mingyuan Chen, Ying Sun, Haojiang Li & Lizhi Liu 

Abstract

Objectives

This study aimed to evaluate the value of nodal grouping (NG), defined as the presence of at least three contiguous lymph nodes (LNs) within one LN region, in staging and management of patients with non-metastatic nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC).

Methods

MR images were reviewed to evaluate LN variables, including NG. The Kaplan–Meier method and multivariate Cox regression models evaluated the association between the variables and survival. Harrell’s concordance index (C-index) was used to measure the performance of prognostic models. The outcome of induction chemotherapy (IC) in patients with and without NG was compared using matched-pair analysis.

Results

In 1224 patients enrolled, NG was found to be an independent prognostic factor for overall survival (OS), progression-free survival (PFS), distant metastasis-free survival (DMFS), and regional recurrence-free survival. The hazard ratio and 95% confidence interval (CI) of NG for OS (3.86, 2.09–7.12) were higher than those of stage N2 (3.54, 1.89–6.70). On upgrading patients with NG from stages N1 to N2, the revised N staging yielded a higher C-index compared to the American Joint Committee on Cancer system in predicting PFS (0.664 vs. 0.658, p = 0.022) and DMFS (0.699 vs. 0.690, p = 0.005). Results of the matched-pair analysis revealed that for patients with NG in stages N1 and N2, IC was correlated with improved OS (p = 0.022), PFS (p = 0.007), and DMFS (p = 0.021).

Conclusions

NG is a significant prognostic factor for patients with NPC. Patients with NG may be upgraded from stages N1 to N2. NG was also a marker for identifying patients who would benefit from IC.

Key Points

Nodal grouping, defined as the presence of at least three contiguous LNs within one LN region on MRI, was identified as a significant prognostic factor.

In patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma, nodal grouping may influence lymph node staging.

Nodal grouping was a marker for identifying patients who may benefit from induction chemotherapy.

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Year 2020
Language English
Format PDF
DOI 10.1007/s00330-019-06537-6