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Open Access Research article

Influence of gender and age on the survival of patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma

Guangli Xiao*, Yabing Cao, Xibin Qiu, Weihua Wang and Yufeng Wang

Author Affiliations

Radiation Therapy Center, Kiang Wu Hospital, Macao, China

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BMC Cancer 2013, 13:226  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-13-226

Published: 4 May 2013



The prognostic value of gender and age in the survival of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) patients treated with intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) is unclear. Several studies have suggested a female advantage in the prognosis of solid tumors. We investigated the relationship between gender differences and disease outcome in NPC patients treated with IMRT in South China.


A total of 299 patients with non-disseminated NPC were analyzed retrospectively. IMRT was delivered with a simultaneous modulated, accelerated radiotherapy boost technique at prescribed doses of 70 Gy/30 fractions/6 weeks to the primary tumor (GTVp) and positive neck nodes (GTVn), 60Gy (2.0 Gy/day) to the clinical target volume (CTV) and upper neck region and 54 Gy (1.8 Gy/day) to the clinically negative low neck. A median boost dose of 9.2 Gy (4–20 Gy) was administered to patients with persistent disease at the primary site.


With a median follow-up of 52 months, the male patients had a significantly unfavorable 5-year OS (70.7% compared to 94.1%, P < 0.001), DPFS (71.5% compared to 87.3%, P = 0.029) and DMFS (77.2% compared to 89.7%, P = 0.036) than the female patients. In patients younger than 45, the male patients had a poorer 5-year OS (66.8% compared to 91.2%, P = 0.008), DPFS (59.9% compared to 91.2%, P = 0.005) and DMFS (66.4% compared to 94.0%, P = 0.004) than the female patients. For patients older than 45, only the 5-year OS (72.2% compared to 96.0%, P = 0.001) was significantly different.


Gender and age are strong independent prognostic factors for NPC in this study. We are the first to report that younger male patients were more likely to have distant metastases and exhibited inferior overall survival and disease progression-free survival rates compared to other patients.

NPC; Gender; Age and survival