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Cancer Treat Rev. 2003 Oct;29(5):389-99.

Modern management of locally advanced cervical carcinoma.

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Unidad de Investigación Biomédica en Cáncer, Instituto Nacional de Cancerología, Instituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas, UNAM, 14080 Tlalpan, Mexico.


Radiation was until recently the key and only modality for the routine treatment of locally advanced cervical carcinoma. However after years of studying multi-modality treatments as an alternative to radiation alone in randomized phase III trials, the standard treatment has changed to chemo-radiation based on cisplatin. Three recent meta-analyses have confirmed that cisplatin-based chemo-radiation adds an absolute 12% benefit in five-year survival over radiation therapy alone. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy followed by radiation has not been of proven benefit, but when neoadjuvant chemotherapy is followed by surgery, an absolute increase of 15% in five-year survival over radiation alone is seen. This benefit in survival is comparable to that obtained with the current chemo-radiation schedules based on cisplatin. Despite these encouraging results there remains room for improvement as the five-year survival of patients treated with chemo-radiation ranges from nearly 80% in bulky IB tumours to only 25% in stage IVA disease. Other therapeutic approaches need to be fully evaluated including the use of chemo-radiation after neoadjuvant chemotherapy; the use of new drug combinations and the multi-modality combination of neoadjuvant chemotherapy followed by radical surgery plus adjuvant chemo-radiation. Likewise, the addition of radiosensitizers to cisplatin, preoperative chemo-radiation and/or adjuvant chemotherapy may eventually improve the currents results of cisplatin-based chemo-radiation. Nevertheless, it is hard to foresee a dramatic increase in cure rate, even with the most optimal combination of cytotoxic drugs, surgery and radiation, and thus the testing of molecular targeted therapies against cervical cancer is a logical step to follow.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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