Current Perspectives on Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma

  • Hui Mei Lee
  • Kazuhida Shaun Okuda
  • Fermín E. González
  • Vyomesh Patel
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 1164)


Of the ~129,079 new cases of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) and 72,987 associated deaths estimated for 2018, the majority will be geographically localized to South East Asia, and likely to show an upward trend annually. It is thought that disparities in dietary habits, lifestyle, and exposures to harmful environmental factors are likely the root cause of NPC incidence rates to differ geographically. Genetic differences due to ethnicity and the Epstein Barr virus (EBV) are likely contributing factors. Pertinently, NPC is associated with poor prognosis which is largely attributed to lack of awareness of the salient symptoms of NPC. These include nose hemorrhage and headaches and coupled with detection and the limited therapeutic options. Treatment options include radiotherapy or chemotherapy or combination of both. Surgical excision is generally the last option considered for advanced and metastatic disease, given the close proximity of nasopharynx to brain stem cell area, major blood vessels, and nerves. To improve outcome of NPC patients, novel cellular and in vivo systems are needed to allow an understanding of the underling molecular events causal for NPC pathogenesis and for identifying novel therapeutic targets and effective therapies. While challenges and gaps in current NPC research are noted, some advances in targeted therapies and immunotherapies targeting EBV NPCs are discussed in this chapter, which may offer improvements in outcome of NPC patients.


Asian cancer Nasopharynx Epithelial cells Therapies Cell lines Animal models 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hui Mei Lee
    • 1
  • Kazuhida Shaun Okuda
    • 2
  • Fermín E. González
    • 3
  • Vyomesh Patel
    • 1
  1. 1.Cancer Research MalaysiaSubang JayaMalaysia
  2. 2.Division of Genomics of Development and DiseaseInstitute for Molecular Bioscience, The University of QueenslandSt LuciaAustralia
  3. 3.Laboratory of Experimental Immunology and Cancer, Faculty of DentistryUniversidad de ChileSantiagoChile

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