DataSheet1_Prognostic Value of Oral Epstein–Barr Virus DNA Load in Locoregionally Advanced Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma.docx
Background: Plasma Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) DNA load has been widely used for nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) prognostic risk stratification. However, oral EBV DNA load, a non-invasive biomarker that reflects the EBV lytic replication activity, has not been evaluated for its prognostic value in NPC yet.
Methods: A total number of 1,194 locoregionally advanced NPC (LA-NPC) patients from south China were included from a prospective observational cohort (GARTC) with a median follow-up of 107.3 months. Pretreatment or mid-treatment mouthwashes were collected for EBV DNA detection by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). The difference of pre- and mid-treatment oral EBV DNA load was tested by the Wilcoxon signed-rank test. The associations of oral EBV DNA load with overall survival (OS), progression-free survival (PFS), distant metastasis–free survival (DMFS), and locoregional relapse-free survival (LRFS) were assessed using the log-rank test and multivariate Cox regression.
Results: The high level of the oral EBV DNA load (>2,100 copies/mL) was independently associated with worse OS (HR = 1.45, 95% CI: 1.20–1.74, p < 0.001), PFS (HR = 1.38, 95% CI: 1.16–1.65, p < 0.001), DMFS (HR = 1.66, 95% CI: 1.25–2.21, p = 0.001), and LRFS (HR = 1.43, 95% CI: 1.05–1.96, p = 0.023). Similar and robust associations between oral EBV DNA load and prognosis were observed for patients in both the pretreatment and mid-treatment stages. The detection rate (71.7 vs. 48.6%, p < 0.001) and the median load of oral EBV DNA (13,368 vs. 382 copies/mL, p < 0.001) for patients in the pretreatment stage were significantly higher than those in the mid-treatment stage. The combination of the oral EBV DNA load and TNM staging provided a more precise risk stratification for the LA-NPC patients.
Conclusion: Oral EBV DNA load was an alternative non-invasive predictor of prognosis and may facilitate risk stratification for the LA-NPC patients.