Evaluation of early changes of macular function and morphology by multifocal electroretinograms in patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma after radiotherapy

  • Haijun Gong
  • Yuanlin Tang
  • Jianhui Xiao
  • Yimin Liu
  • Rui Zeng
  • Zijing Li
  • Si Zhang
  • Yuqing LanEmail author
Original Research Article



To assess the role of multifocal electroretinograms (mfERGs) and optical coherence tomography (OCT) for detecting early changes in macular functions of patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) after radiotherapy.


mfERGs and OCT were used to examine a NPC group (36 NPC patients after radiotherapy without clinically visible radiation retinopathy, 36 eyes) and a normal control group (25 healthy individuals, 25 eyes) with the same procedure and parameters. The two groups of mfERG were summarized by calculating ring averages, response density, N1 amplitude and P1 and N1 latencies were analysed. OCT scan thickness was summarized into ETDRS regions for comparison.


Compared with controls, the NPC group had significantly decreased P1 response densities in 1–4 ring regions and N1 amplitudes in 1–3 rings (P < 0.01). P1 latencies were obviously prolonged in rings 1 (P < 0.01). In four quadrants (inferonasal, superonasal, inferotemporal and superotemporal) of the mfERG response waveforms, the NPC group had significantly decreased P1 response densities and N1 amplitudes mainly in the inferonasal and inferotemporal quadrants, showing statistically significant differences from the control group (P < 0.0125). But for the OCT results, there is no statistically significant difference between the NPC group and the control group.


In NPC patients after radiotherapy, there may be changes in the mfERGs before any visible fundus lesions appeared as radiation macular oedema. Since the global OCT macular thickness analysis cannot reveal early changes, the mfERGs can objectively and quantitatively assess the earlier changes in macular function in NPC patients.


Multifocal electroretinograms Optical coherence tomography Nasopharyngeal carcinoma Radiation retinopathy 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors certify that they have no affiliations with or involvement in any organization or entity with any financial interest or non-financial interest in the subject matter or materials discussed in this manuscript.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and national research committees and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Supplementary material

10633_2019_9678_MOESM1_ESM.docx (68 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 67 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Haijun Gong
    • 1
  • Yuanlin Tang
    • 2
  • Jianhui Xiao
    • 1
  • Yimin Liu
    • 3
  • Rui Zeng
    • 1
  • Zijing Li
    • 1
  • Si Zhang
    • 1
  • Yuqing Lan
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Ophthalmology, Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Malignant Tumor Epigenetics and Gene Regulation, Sun Yat-sen Memorial HospitalSun Yat-sen UniversityGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.Department of OphthalmologyNanhai Hospital Affiliated to Southern Medical UniversityFoshanChina
  3. 3.Department of Radiotherapy, Sun Yat-sen Memorial HospitalSun Yat-sen UniversityGuangzhouChina

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