Radiotherapy is the modality of choice for the treatment of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). However, systemic chemotherapy has recently been found to play an increasing role in the treatment of advanced or metastatic disease. The status of drug resistance gene expression that has crucial impact on chemotherapy has not been fully addressed for patients with NPC. In this study, we examined the expression of multidrug resistance 1 (MDR-1) and glutathione-Stransferase-π (GST-π) in primary, recurrent, and metastatic NPC using results of immunohistochemical examinations. The results were correlated with the expression of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) latent protein, latent membrane protein 1 (LMP1), and clinicopathologic features, including stage, histopathologic types, and survival rates. MDR-1 protein expression was detected in 18 (12.6%) of 143 patients with primary NPC, 14 (32.6%) of 43 with recurrent NPC, and O (0%) of 20 with metastatic NPC, whereas 83 (58%) of 143 patients with primary NPC, 30 (69.8%) of 43 with recurrent NPC, and 13 (65%) of 20 with metastatic NPC expressed GST-π. EBV-LMP1 was expressed in 59 (41.3%) of 143 patients with primary NPC, 23 (53.5%) of 43 with recurrent NPC, and 9 (45%) of 20 with metastatic NPC. Simultaneous expression of MDR1 and GST-π was observed in 13 (72.2%) of 18 patients with primary NPC and 12 (85.7%) of 14 with recurrent NPC. The expression of LMP1 was detected in only 6 of the 13 patients with primary NPC and 6 of the 12 with recurrent NPC. We concluded that the expression of GST-π was more frequent in NPC tumor tissues than the expression of MDR-1. The expression of MDR-1 correlated with clinicopathologic features of primary NPC, including the histopathologic types and survival rates, but not with disease stage. The expression of GST-π did not correlate with clinicopathologic features. The expression of MDR-1 and GST-π did not correlate with expression of EBV-LMP1 for patients with NPC.
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