Purpose: Aim of this study was to retrospectively evaluate patterns of failure, results, and prognostic factors for patients with nasopharyngeal cancer (NPC) following radiotherapy (RT) with and without concurrent chemotherapy (RCT). Patients and Methods: Between 1978 and 1999, a total of 101 patients with NPC were treated in our hospital, of whom 53 received external megavoltage RT alone with a median total dose of 76 Gy (1978–1988), and 48 patients had RCT (1989–1999). For RCT a combination of 5-FU and cisplatin was used together with a median total dose of 72 Gy. Patterns of relapse, survival rates and toxicity as well as prognostic factors were evaluated retrospectively. Results: RCT was associated with a marked reduction in distant metastases: 6/48 (13%) vs. 17/53 (32%) after RT alone. Locoregional tumor persistence was only marginally lower with RCT: 10/48 (21%) vs. 17/53 (32%) following RT. Patients with RCT demonstrated a survival advantage compared to those with RT alone (5-year overall survival (OS): 64% vs. 44%, p = 0.1). OS, disease-specific survival and locoregional control rates were 53, 57, and 78% at 5 years and 47, 51 and 78% at 10 years, respectively. OS was significantly affected by histology (p = 0.007), the patients’ age (p = 0.009) and gender (p = 0.01). Conclusion: This retrospective study provides further evidence that both reduction of distant metastasis and enhanced local tumor control by combined radiochemotherapy may be associated with improved survival rates in NPC compared to radiation alone. Concurrent RCT is therefore considered the preferable treatment option, however, confirmation in randomized trials is still warranted.

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