J Cancer 2019; 10(16):3650-3656. doi:10.7150/jca.33475

Research Paper

Effect of Early Nutrition Intervention on Advanced Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma Patients Receiving Chemoradiotherapy

Lingbin Meng1,2, Jinlong Wei1, Rui Ji3, Bin Wang1, Xiaochun Xu4, Ying Xin5,✉, Xin Jiang1,✉

1. Department of Radiation Oncology, the First Hospital of Jilin University, Changchun, China
2. Department of Internal Medicine, Florida Hospital, Orlando, FL 32804, USA
3. Department of Biology, Valencia College, Orlando, FL 32825, USA
4. Department of Clinical Cancer Prevention, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77030, USA
5. The Key Laboratory of Pathobiology, Ministry of Education, Jilin University, Changchun, China

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Meng L, Wei J, Ji R, Wang B, Xu X, Xin Y, Jiang X. Effect of Early Nutrition Intervention on Advanced Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma Patients Receiving Chemoradiotherapy. J Cancer 2019; 10(16):3650-3656. doi:10.7150/jca.33475. Available from http://www.jcancer.org/v10p3650.htm

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Background: Patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) frequently developed the problem of malnutrition at the time of diagnosis. Chemoradiotherapy (CRT) can even worsen the situation. Therefore, nutritional intervention should be applied to prevent CRT-associated weight loss and interruption of CRT. However, it is still controversial if early nutritional intervention is beneficial to NPC patients with CRT. This study is to investigate the influence of early nutritional intervention on advanced NPC patients with CRT by evaluating the nutritional status and CRT treatment tolerance.

Methods: A cohort of 78 stage III-IV nasopharyngeal carcinoma patients was divided into early (n=46) and late (n=32) nutrition intervention groups. The early group of patients received nutritional support at the beginning of CRT, whereas the late group received such a support until development of the side effects, like 50% required oral dietary intake or >10% weight loss. The data were collected and statistically analyzed.

Results: There was no significant difference in baseline clinical characteristics between these two groups, suggesting that no selection bias occurred. Both groups of patients had weight loss at the end of CRT and 3 months thereafter. However, at the later time point, the early group started to regain their weight, while the late group continued to lose weight. At both time points, the early group had a lower percentage of weight loss than the late group. Similar results were also obtained for BMI, albumin, and pre-albumin levels (All p<0.05). Besides, the early group showed a lower rate of advanced mucositis, a lower percentage of patients with more than 3 days RT breaks, fewer days of RT delayed for toxicity, and a lower percentage of patients with unplanned hospitalizations (All p<0.05). A linear correlation was also found between the percentage of weight loss and the number of days of RT delayed.

Conclusion: Early nutritional intervention provides beneficial outcomes to NPC patients by maintaining their nutritional status and enhancing CRT treatment tolerance. Our results also indicated early nutrition intervention may reduce the hospital cost and improve patients' life quality.

Keywords: nasopharyngeal carcinoma, chemoradiotherapy, nutritional intervention, advanced mucositis