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NPC is highly sensitive to both radiation treatment and many forms of drug (chemotherapy) treatment. For this reason and because the nasopharynx is not easily accessible by surgical means, the mainstay of treatment for both localized (head and neck) and metastatic (spreads beyond the head and neck) NPC is radiation and drug treatment.
Cure rates for patients with localized disease are high, even for patients with bulky tumors in their nasopharynx or neck lymph nodes. Major advances in radiation techniques over the past two decades, including intensity modulated radiation treatments (IMRT) have led to excellent local control of NPC. The addition of chemotherapy, especially cisplatin treatments overlapping with radiation, has also been associated with improved cure rates in patients with locally advanced tumors.
For patients with advanced, metastatic tumors, chemotherapy is the mainstay of treatment. Many drugs, including cisplatin, paclitaxel, docetaxel, gemcitabine, and 5- fluorouracil have been shown to be effective.
Clinical trials are research studies that evaluate a new medical approach, device, drug, or other treatment. As a Stanford Health Care patient, you may have access to the latest, advanced clinical trials.
Open trials refer to studies currently accepting participants. Closed trials are not currently enrolling, but may open in the future.