Endometrial Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Recurrent Endometrial Cancer
For patients with localized recurrences (pelvis and periaortic lymph nodes) or distant metastases in selected sites, radiation therapy may be an effective palliative therapy. In rare instances, pelvic radiation therapy may be curative in pure vaginal recurrence when no prior radiation therapy has been used. Patients positive for estrogen and progesterone receptors respond best to progestin therapy. Among 115 patients with advanced endometrial cancer who were treated with progestins, 75% (42 of 56 patients) of those with detectable progesterone receptors in their tumors before treatment responded, compared to only 7% without detectable progesterone receptors (4 of 59 patients). A receptor-poor status may predict not only poor response to progestins but also a better response to cytotoxic chemotherapy. Evidence suggests that tamoxifen (20 mg twice a day) will give a response rate of 20% in those who do not respond to standard progesterone therapy.
Several randomized trials by the Gynecologic Oncology Group have utilized the known antitumor activity of doxorubicin. The addition of cisplatin to doxorubicin increased response rates and progression-free survival (PFS) over doxorubicin alone but without an effect on overall survival (OS). However, in a trial conducted in a subset of patients with stage III or IV disease with residual tumors smaller than 2 cm and no parenchymal organ involvement, the use of the combination of cisplatin and doxorubicin resulted in improved OS compared to whole-abdominal radiation therapy (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.68; 95% confidence interval limits, 0.52–0.89; P = .02; 5-year survival rate of 55% vs. 42%).[Level of evidence: 1iiA] In a subsequent trial, paclitaxel with doxorubicin had a similar outcome to cisplatin with doxorubicin.[6,7] The three-drug regimen (doxorubicin, cisplatin, and paclitaxel) with granulocyte colony-stimulating factor, however, was significantly superior to cisplatin plus doxorubicin: response rates were 57% versus 34%, PFS was 8.3 months versus 5.3 months, and OS was 15.3 months versus 12.3 months, respectively. The superior regimen was associated with a 12% grade 3 and a 27% grade 2 peripheral neuropathy.[6,7][Level of evidence: 1iiDiv]
Squamous cell (epidermoid) carcinoma comprises approximately 90%, and adenocarcinoma comprises approximately 10% of cervical cancers. Adenosquamous and small cell carcinomas are relatively rare. Primary sarcomas of the cervix have been described occasionally, and malignant lymphomas of the cervix, primary and secondary, have also been reported.
Clinical trials are appropriate for patients whose disease recurs with distant metastases and who are unresponsive to hormonal therapy. Doxorubicin is the most active anticancer agent employed, with useful but temporary responses obtained in as many as 33% of patients with metastatic disease. Paclitaxel also has significant activity.
Current Clinical Trials
Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with recurrent endometrial carcinoma. The list of clinical trials can be further narrowed by location, drug, intervention, and other criteria.
General information about clinical trials is also available from the NCI Web site.
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Kauppila A, Friberg LG: Hormonal and cytotoxic chemotherapy for endometrial carcinoma. Steroid receptors in the selection of appropriate therapy. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand Suppl 101: 59-64, 1981.
Thigpen JT, Brady MF, Homesley HD, et al.: Phase III trial of doxorubicin with or without cisplatin in advanced endometrial carcinoma: a Gynecologic Oncology Group study. J Clin Oncol 22 (19): 3902-8, 2004.
Randall ME, Filiaci VL, Muss H, et al.: Randomized phase III trial of whole-abdominal irradiation versus doxorubicin and cisplatin chemotherapy in advanced endometrial carcinoma: a Gynecologic Oncology Group Study. J Clin Oncol 24 (1): 36-44, 2006.
Fleming GF, Brunetto VL, Cella D, et al.: Phase III trial of doxorubicin plus cisplatin with or without paclitaxel plus filgrastim in advanced endometrial carcinoma: a Gynecologic Oncology Group Study. J Clin Oncol 22 (11): 2159-66, 2004.
Fleming GF, Filiaci VL, Bentley RC, et al.: Phase III randomized trial of doxorubicin + cisplatin versus doxorubicin + 24-h paclitaxel + filgrastim in endometrial carcinoma: a Gynecologic Oncology Group study. Ann Oncol 15 (8): 1173-8, 2004.
Ball HG, Blessing JA, Lentz SS, et al.: A phase II trial of paclitaxel in patients with advanced or recurrent adenocarcinoma of the endometrium: a Gynecologic Oncology Group study. Gynecol Oncol 62 (2): 278-81, 1996.