HealthDay News — Pediatric patients with nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) are more often black and present with stage IV disease, but they have lower mortality than adult patients, according to a study published online January 14 in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.

Morgan K. Richards, MD, MPH, from the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort study involving all 17 317 patients with a primary diagnosis of NCP in the National Cancer Data Base from 1998 through 2011 (699 pediatric [age, ≤21 years] patients and 16 618 adults).

The researchers found that pediatric patients were most frequently black (43.6%), while adult patients were most often non-Hispanic white (60.0%; P < 0.001). Pediatric patients were less likely than adults to be Asian (5.7 versus 19.7%; P < 0.001). Compared with adult patients, pediatric patients were more likely to have regional nodal evaluation (35.3 versus 24.0%; P < 0.001) and to present with stage IV disease (58.4 versus 47.8%; P < 0.001). The mortality risk was lower for pediatric patients (hazard ratio, 0.37; 95% confidence interval, 0.25 to 0.56), with no difference in mortality by racial group among pediatric patients (hazard ratio, 1.10; 95% confidence interval, 0.82 to 1.40).

“Although uncommon, pediatric NPC appears to affect a different patient demographic relative to adult NPC,” the authors write.

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