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Prognostic factors in nasopharyngeal carcinoma with synchronous liver metastasis: a retrospective study for the management of treatment

Yun-Ming Tian1, Lei Zeng1, Feng-Hua Wang1, Shuai Liu1, Ying Guan1, Tai-Xiang Lu1 and Fei Han12*

Author Affiliations

1 State Key Laboratory of Oncolo-gy in South China, Collaborative Innovation Center of Cancer Medicine, Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center, Guangzhou, PR China

2 Department of Radiation Oncology, Cancer Center of Sun Yat-Sen University, 651 Dong Feng, Road East, Guangzhou 510060, Guangdong Province, PR China

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Radiation Oncology 2013, 8:272  doi:10.1186/1748-717X-8-272

Published: 19 November 2013



To retrospectively analyze the prognosis of patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) initially presenting with liver metastasis, in order to identify independent prognostic factors to facilitate management of treatment.


Eighty-five patients with untreated NPC and synchronous liver metastasis, initially diagnosed between January 2000 and December 2009, were selected for this retrospective study. Seventy-eight received systemic chemotherapy, 32 underwent subsequent radiotherapy of the primary tumor, and 18 received local therapy for metastatic lesions. Clinical features, laboratory parameters and treatment modalities were compared by univariate and multivariate analyses.


The median survival time was 19.0 months and the 3-year overall survival rate was 14.1%. The overall response and disease control rates were 70.4% and 86.4%, respectively. Significant predictors of short survival were KPS ≤ 70 (P = 0.03), serum lactate dehydrogenase levels >245 IU/l (P = 0.01) and poor response to chemotherapy (P < 0.01). In contrast, significantly longer survival rates were achieved by patients having at least six chemotherapy cycles compared to those receiving <6 cycles (3-year OS: 18.3% vs. 7.1%; P < 0.01), and patients receiving radiotherapy of the primary tumor following complete or partial response to chemotherapy (3-year OS: 30.8% vs. 3.8%, P < 0.01).


Five key independent factors were identified and sub-classified as potential prognostic indicators for NPC with liver metastases. Progressive treatments of systemic chemotherapy and radiotherapy at the primary tumor could prolong survival in the subset of patients having fewer negative prognosticators.

Nasopharyngeal carcinoma; Liver metastasis; Prognosis; Response; Lactate dehydrogenase; Local therapy