Nasopharyngeal Cancer: Latest Research

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 03/2015

ON THIS PAGE: You will read about the scientific research being done now to learn more about this type of cancer and how to treat it. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

Doctors are working to learn more about NPC, ways to prevent it, how to best treat it, and how to provide the best care to people diagnosed with this disease. The following areas of research may include new options for patients through clinical trials. Always talk with your doctor about the diagnostic and treatment options best for you.

  • Biologic therapy. Biologic therapy, also called immunotherapy, is designed to boost the body’s natural defenses to fight cancer. It uses materials made either by the body or in a laboratory to improve, target, or restore immune system function. Treatment based on the specific biologic characteristics of a tumor is being used with increasing frequency and being tested in clinical trials. People should talk with their doctors about the availability of these studies. Learn more about the basics of immunotherapy.

  • Combining therapies. As described in the Treatment Options section, doctors continue to research the best combinations of different types of therapies, such as radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and surgery, for different stages of NPC.

  • Palliative care. Clinical trials are underway to find better ways of reducing symptoms and side effects of current NPC treatments to improve patients’ comfort and quality of life. This includes ways to relieve dry mouth (xerostomia), mouth sores, pain, and other side effects.

Looking for more about the latest research?

If you would like additional information about the latest areas of research regarding NPC, explore these related items that take you outside of this guide:

  • To find clinical trials specific to your diagnosis, talk with your doctor or search online clinical trial databases now.

  • Visit ASCO’s CancerProgress.Net website to learn more about the historical pace of research for head and neck cancer. Please note this link takes you to a separate ASCO website.  

  • Visit the website of the Conquer Cancer Foundation to find out how to help support research for every cancer type. Please note this link takes you to a separate ASCO website.

The next section in this guide is Coping with Side Effects, and it offers some guidance in how to cope with the physical, emotional, and social changes that cancer and its treatment can bring. Or, use the menu on the side of your screen to choose another section to continue reading this guide.