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Cervical Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Stage IB Cervical Cancer

Either radiation therapy or radical hysterectomy and bilateral lymph node dissection results in cure rates of 85% to 90% for women with Féderation Internationale de Gynécologie et d'Obstétrique (FIGO) stages IA2 and IB1 small-volume disease. The choice of either treatment depends on patient factors and available local expertise. A randomized trial reported identical 5-year overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival rates when comparing radiation therapy to radical hysterectomy.[1] The size of the primary tumor is an important prognostic factor and should be carefully evaluated in choosing optimal therapy.[2] For adenocarcinomas that expand the cervix more than 4 cm, the primary treatment should be concomitant chemotherapy and radiation therapy.[3]

After surgical staging, patients found to have small volume para-aortic nodal disease and controllable pelvic disease may be cured with pelvic and para-aortic radiation therapy and concomitant chemotherapy.[4] The resection of macroscopically involved pelvic nodes may improve rates of local control with postoperative chemotherapy and radiation therapy.[5] Treatment of patients with unresected periaortic nodes with extended-field radiation therapy and chemotherapy leads to long-term disease control in those patients with low volume (<2 cm) nodal disease below L3.[6] A single study (RTOG-7920) showed a survival advantage in patients with tumors larger than 4 cm who received radiation therapy to para-aortic nodes without histologic evidence of disease.[7] Toxic effects were greater with para-aortic radiation therapy than with pelvic radiation therapy alone but were mostly confined to patients with prior abdominopelvic surgery.[7] Patients who underwent extraperitoneal lymph node sampling had fewer bowel complications than those who had transperitoneal lymph node sampling.[6,8,9] Patients with close vaginal margins (<0.5 cm) may also benefit from pelvic radiation therapy.[10]

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General Information About Cervical Cancer

Incidence and Mortality Estimated new cases and deaths from cervical (uterine cervix) cancer in the United States in 2012:[1] New cases: 12,170. Deaths: 4,220. Prognostic Factors The prognosis for patients with cervical cancer is markedly affected by the extent of disease at the time of diagnosis. A vast majority (&gt;90%) of these cases can and should be detected early through the use of the Pap test and human papillomavirus (HPV) testing; however,[2] the current death rate...

Read the General Information About Cervical Cancer article > >

Five randomized phase III trials have shown an OS advantage for cisplatin-based therapy given concurrently with radiation therapy,[11,12,13,14,15,16] while one trial examining this regimen demonstrated no benefit.[17] The patient populations in these studies included women with FIGO stages IB2 to IVA cervical cancer treated with primary radiation therapy, and women with FIGO stages I to IIA disease who, at the time of primary surgery, were found to have poor prognostic factors, which included the following:

  • Metastatic disease in pelvic lymph nodes.
  • Parametrial disease.
  • Positive surgical margins.

Although the positive trials vary somewhat in terms of the stage of disease, dose of radiation, and schedule of cisplatin and radiation, the trials demonstrate significant survival benefit for this combined approach. The risk of death from cervical cancer was decreased by 30% to 50% with the use of concurrent chemoradiation therapy. Based on these results, strong consideration should be given to the incorporation of concurrent cisplatin-based chemotherapy with radiation therapy in women who require radiation therapy for treatment of cervical cancer.[11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19]

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WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: February 25, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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