Nasopharyngeal cancer (NPC) is a major health problem in Malaysia, being the fourth most common cancer among Malaysians and third most common cancer among Malaysian men. NPC is strongly associated with Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) and occurs at the back of the nose. Radiotherapy is effective against early stage NPC; however, over 70% of cases presented with late stage disease, principally as a result of the non-specific symptoms and the difficulty of examining the nasopharynx clinically. These patients often suffer from undesirable side effects of chemoradiotherapy treatments that result in poor quality of life. In addition, a subset of tumours is resistant to many forms of treatment and recurrent disease has a significant impact on survival rates. Therefore, reliable biomarkers for diagnosis, prognosis and treatment for NPC are urgently needed.
- Omar, Z.A. and Tamin, N.S.I., National Cancer Registry, Malaysia Cancer Statistics – Data and Figure Report 2007. Ministry of Health Malaysia, 2011.