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Yixing Jiang, Heath Mackley, Hua Cheng, and Jaffer A. Ajani

Use of definitive chemoradiation as primary therapy for locoregional squamous cell carcinoma of the anal canal has been the standard approach in the United States since the 1980s. Over the past several years, phase III studies have shown that combination mitomycin C (MMC) and 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) concurrent with radiotherapy had better outcomes than radiotherapy alone or 5-FU with radiotherapy. Two recent phase III studies using diverse treatment strategies showed that cisplatin and 5-FU were not superior to 5-FU and MMC; in one of the trials, use of cisplatin-based chemoradiation resulted in a higher rate of colostomy compared with mitomycin-based chemoradiation. MMC and 5-FU concurrent with radiotherapy remains standard care. Further improvement is likely depending on an increased understanding of the molecular biology of anal carcinoma and the addition of relevant biologic agents to chemoradiation to overcome chemoradiation resistance.

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Yu-Pei Chen, Ya-Qin Wang, Wen-Fei Li, Lei Chen, Cheng Xu, Tai-Xiang Lu, Ai-Hua Lin, Ji-Jin Yao, Yang-Chan Li, Ying Sun, Yan-Ping Mao, and Jun Ma

Background: Given the distinct biological characteristics and regional distribution of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) compared with other head and neck cancers, and uncertainties regarding therapeutic strategies, physicians require high-quality clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) to provide transparent recommendations for NPC treatment. This study aimed to critically appraise the quality of NPC CPGs and assess the consistency of their recommendations. Methods: We identified CPGs that provided recommendations on the diagnosis and management of NPC published up to December 2015. Four investigators independently appraised CPG quality using the Appraisal of Guidelines for Research & Evaluation (AGREE) II instrument. Key recommendations by CPGs were also evaluated. Results: A total of 7 CPGs were eligible for this study: 5 produced by professional organizations or governmental agencies and 2 were developed based on expert consensus. Of the 6 AGREE II domains, the applicability domain scored consistently low across CPGs (range, 13.5%–30.2%); no CPG achieved a score of >50% in all 6 domains. The scope and purpose domain (≥73.6% for 4 CPGs) and editorial independence domain (≥75.0% for 6 CPGs) scored highest. Of the 23 AGREE II items, 9 scored less than half of the points available in all 7 CPGs. The recommendations by CPGs were consistent in general; heterogeneity mainly existed among recommended therapeutic strategies. Conclusions: Variation exists in NPC CPG development processes and recommendations. Increased efforts are required to make comprehensive resources available to guide healthcare providers and enhance delivery of high-quality, evidence-based care for NPC. International collaboration is necessary to enable the development of high-quality and regionally relevant CPGs for NPC.