New hope for advanced nasopharyngeal cancer—an Epstein-Barr virus-driven endemic malignancy?

Victor Ho Fun Lee, Sum-Yin Chan, Chi-Chung Tong, Ka-On Lam, Dora Lai-Wan Kwong, To- Wai Leung, Anne Wing-Mui Lee


It is well-known that the nasopharyngeal cancer (NPC) is highly endemic with the high incidences in Southern China and Southeast Asia (1). The undifferentiated histological subtype is the most common in endemic regions, which is highly sensitive to radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Intensity-modulated radiation therapy as the most commonly employed technique in the contemporary era is the mainstay of treatment for previously untreated early-stage NPC while concurrent chemoradiation is indicated in locoregionally advanced disease (2-5). That said, about 30% of patients develop relapse either as locoregional recurrence or distant metastasis despite intensive aggressive treatment (6).