Last updated on October 2020

Individualized Treatment in Treating Patients With Stage II-IVB Nasopharyngeal Cancer Based on EBV DNA

Brief description of study

There are two study questions we are asking in this randomized phase II/III trial based on a blood biomarker, Epstein Barr virus (EBV) deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) for locoregionally advanced non-metastatic nasopharyngeal cancer. All patients will first undergo standard concurrent chemotherapy and radiation therapy. When this standard treatment is completed, if there is no detectable EBV DNA in their plasma, then patients are randomized to either standard adjuvant cisplatin and fluorouracil chemotherapy or observation. If there is still detectable levels of plasma EBV DNA, patients will be randomized to standard cisplatin and fluorouracil chemotherapy versus gemcitabine and paclitaxel. Radiation therapy uses high energy x rays to kill tumor cells. Drugs used in chemotherapy, such as cisplatin, fluorouracil, gemcitabine hydrochloride, and paclitaxel work in different ways to stop the growth of tumor cells, either by killing the cells, by stopping them from dividing, or by stopping them from spreading. It is not yet known whether giving cisplatin and fluorouracil is more effective than gemcitabine hydrochloride and paclitaxel after radiation therapy in treating patients with nasopharyngeal cancer.

Detailed Study Description


I. To determine whether substituting adjuvant concurrent high dose cisplatin (CDDP) and fluorouracil (5-FU) with gemcitabine (gemcitabine hydrochloride) and paclitaxel will result in superior progression-free survival. (Detectable Plasma Epstein Barr Virus [EBV] Deoxyribonucleic Acid [DNA] Cohort randomized Phase II) II. To determine whether omitting adjuvant CDDP and 5-FU (observation alone in the adjuvant setting) will result in non-inferior overall survival as compared with those patients receiving adjuvant CDDP and 5-FU chemotherapy. (Undetectable Plasma EBV DNA Cohort Phase III)


I. Time to distant metastasis. (Randomized Phase II and Phase III) II. Time to local progression. (Randomized Phase II and Phase III) III. Time to regional progression. (Randomized Phase II and Phase III) IV. Progression-free survival (Undetectable Cohort). V. Overall survival (Detectable Cohort). VI. Acute and late toxicity profiles based on clinician-reported Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (CTCAE), version (v.) 4. (Randomized Phase II and Phase III) VII. Death during or within 30 days of end of protocol treatment. (Randomized Phase II and Phase III) VIII. Quality of life (general and physical well-being). (Randomized Phase II and Phase III) IX. Quality of life (hearing). (Randomized Phase II and Phase III) X. Quality of life (peripheral neuropathy). (Randomized Phase II and Phase III) XI. Cost effectiveness. (Randomized Phase II and Phase III)


Patients undergo intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) once daily (QD) 5 days a week for 6.5 weeks and receive low-dose cisplatin intravenously (IV) over 30-60 minutes once weekly during IMRT. Beginning 1 week after chemoradiation, plasma samples are collected for EBV DNA analysis.

PHASE II: Patients with detectable EBV DNA from pre-treatment analysis are randomized to 1 of 2 treatment arms.

ARM I: Patients receive PF regimen comprising cisplatin IV over 60-120 minutes and fluorouracil IV over 96 hours continuously beginning at least 4 weeks after completion of IMRT. Treatment repeats every 28 days for 3 courses in the absence of disease progression or unacceptable toxicity.

ARM II: Patients receive GT regimen comprising paclitaxel IV over 1 hour and gemcitabine hydrochloride IV over 30 minutes on days 1 and 8 at least 4 weeks after completion of IMRT. Treatment repeats every 21 days for 4 courses in the absence of disease progression or unacceptable toxicity.


Patients with undetectable EBV DNA from pre-treatment analysis are randomized to 1 of 2 treatment arms.

ARM III: Patients receive PF regimen as in Arm I.

ARM IV: Patients undergo clinical observation.

After completion of study treatment, patients are followed up every 4 months for 2 years, every 6 months for 3 years, and then annually thereafter.

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT02135042

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Recruitment Status: Open

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