Background: Management of metastatic (M1) nasopharyngeal cancer (NPC) is controversial; data suggest high overall survival (OS) rates with definitive chemoradiotherapy (CRT). Herein, we evaluated OS in patients with M1 NPC undergoing chemotherapy alone versus CRT. Methods: The National Cancer Data Base was queried for M1 NPC cases. Patients undergoing no/unknown chemotherapy and/or with unknown/nondefinitive radiotherapy (RT) doses (<60 Gy) were excluded. Logistic regression analysis ascertained clinical factors associated with RT administration. Kaplan-Meier analysis evaluated OS between both cohorts; Cox proportional hazards modeling assessed factors associated with OS. Survival was then evaluated between matched populations using inverse-probability–weighted regression adjustment. OS between groups was also measured in patients surviving ≥1 and ≥3 years to address bias from poor-prognostic subsets (eg, widely disseminated disease), and those receiving CRT ≤30 and ≤60 days of each other (surrogates for concurrent CRT) versus >30 and >60 days (sequential) of each other. Results: Of 555 patients, 296 (53%) received chemotherapy alone and 259 (47%) underwent CRT. Patients undergoing CRT more often had private insurance (P=.001) and lived in areas with higher education levels (P=.028). Median OS in the chemotherapy-only and CRT cohorts were 13.7 and 25.8 months, respectively (P<.001); differences persisted between matched populations (P<.001). On multivariate analysis, receipt of additional RT independently predicted for improved OS (P<.001). OS differences between cohorts remained apparent when evaluating patients surviving for ≥1 (P<.001) and ≥3 (P=.002) years. Patients who received concurrent or sequential CRT displayed improved OS over those receiving chemotherapy alone, for both the 30-day (P<.001) and 60-day cutoffs (P<.001). Conclusions: Patients with M1 NPC undergoing definitive RT and chemotherapy experienced higher survival than those receiving chemotherapy alone. Risk stratification and patient selection for such combined modality interventions is critical.
Vivek Verma, Pamela K. Allen, Charles B. Simone II, Hiram A. Gay, and Steven H. Lin
Matthew S. Ning, Prajnan Das, David I. Rosenthal, Bouthaina S. Dabaja, Zhongxing Liao, Joe Y. Chang, Daniel R. Gomez, Ann H. Klopp, G. Brandon Gunn, Pamela K. Allen, Paige L. Nitsch, Rachel B. Natter, Tina M. Briere, Joseph M. Herman, Rebecca Wells, Albert C. Koong, and Mary Frances McAleer
Background: Palliative radiotherapy (RT) is effective, but some patients die during treatment or too soon afterward to experience benefit. This study investigates end-of-life RT patterns to inform shared decision-making and facilitate treatment consistent with palliative goals. Materials and Methods: All patients who died ≤6 months after initiating palliative RT at an academic cancer center between 2015 and 2018 were identified. Associations with time-to-death, early mortality (≤30 days), and midtreatment mortality were analyzed. Results: In total, 1,620 patients died ≤6 months from palliative RT initiation, including 574 (34%) deaths at ≤30 days and 222 (14%) midtreatment. Median survival was 43 days from RT start (95% CI, 41–45) and varied by site (P<.001), ranging from 36 (head and neck) to 53 days (dermal/soft tissue). On multivariable analysis, earlier time-to-death was associated with osseous (hazard ratio [HR], 1.33; P<.001) and head and neck (HR, 1.45; P<.001) sites, multiple RT courses ≤6 months (HR, 1.65; P<.001), and multisite treatments (HR, 1.40; P=.008), whereas stereotactic technique (HR, 0.77; P<.001) and more recent treatment year (HR, 0.82; P<.001) were associated with longer survival. No difference in time to death was noted among patients prescribed conventional RT in 1 to 10 versus >10 fractions (median, 40 vs 47 days; P=.272), although the latter entailed longer courses. The 30-day mortality group included 335 (58%) inpatients, who were 27% more likely to die midtreatment (P=.031). On multivariable analysis, midtreatment mortality among these inpatients was associated with thoracic (odds ratio [OR], 2.95; P=.002) and central nervous system (CNS; OR, 2.44; P=.002) indications, >5-fraction courses (OR, 3.27; P<.001), and performance status of 3 to 4 (OR, 1.63; P=.050). Conversely, palliative/supportive care consultation was associated with decreased midtreatment mortality (OR, 0.60; P=.045). Conclusions: Earlier referrals and hypofractionated courses (≤5–10 treatments) should be routinely considered for palliative RT indications, given the short life expectancies of patients at this stage in their disease course. Providers should exercise caution for emergent thoracic and CNS indications among inpatients with poor prognoses due to high midtreatment mortality.