Genetic association on radiation induced mucosal and skin toxicity in patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma

Isabella Wai Yin CHEUK, Vincent Wing Cheung WU


Radiation therapy (RT) is the primary treatment for many head and neck cancers including nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). While prognosis has been greatly improved with the advancement of RT technique, radiation-induced complications especially normal tissue surrounding tumour volume is unavoidable. Genetic factors are thought to be the most important factors contributing to individual variation in radiation sensitivity. Over 120 studies have been published since year 2000 to investigate the association of genetic variants to radiation-induced toxicities in various types of cancer. Candidate gene approach is the most commonly used approach in published studies, including studies in patients with NPC. Skin and mucosal toxicities are two of the most common radiation induced complications in the radiotherapy of NPC patients. However, studies focused on radiation toxicity in NPC patients are limited. Published literatures focused on genetic variations and radiation sensitivity in NPC patients are summarized in this review, and recommendations for future studies are also suggested. 


Nasopharyngeal carcinoma; Radiation; Genetic association; Skin toxicity

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