The prognostic value of pre-treatment Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) DNA viral load for non-endemic, locally-advanced, EBV-related nasopharyngeal cancer (NPC) patients is yet to be defined. All patients with EBV encoded RNA (EBER)-positive NPC treated at our Institution from 2005 to 2014 with chemotherapy (CT) concurrent with radiation (RT) +/- induction chemotherapy (ICT) were retrospectively reviewed. Pre-treatment baseline plasma EBV DNA (b-EBV DNA) viral load was detected and quantified by PCR. Median b-EBV DNA value was correlated to potential influencing factors by univariate analysis. Significant variables were then extrapolated and included in a multivariate linear regression model. The same variables, including b-EBV DNA, were correlated with Disease Free Survival (DFS) and Overall Survival (OS) by univariate and multivariate analysis.A total of 130 locally-advanced EBER positive NPC patients were evaluated. Overall, b-EBV DNA was detected in 103 patients (79.2%). Median viral load was 554 copies/mL (range 50-151075), and was positively correlated with T stage (p=0.002), N3a-b vs N0-1-2 stage (p=0.048), type of treatment (ICT followed by CTRT, p=0.006) and locoregional and/or distant disease recurrence (p=0.034). In the overall population, DFS and OS were significantly longer in patients with pre-treatment negative EBV DNA than in positive subjects at the multivariate analysis.Negative b-EBV DNA can be considered as prognostic biomarker of longer DFS and OS in NPC in non-endemic areas. This finding needs confirmation in larger prospective series, with standardized and inter-laboratory harmonized method of plasma EBV DNA quantification.
- Journal Article