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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2005 Oct 1;63(2):354-61.

Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) in the treatment of anal cancer: toxicity and clinical outcome.

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Department of Radiation and Cellular Oncology, University of Chicago, 5841 S. Maryland Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.



To assess survival, local control, and toxicity of intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) in squamous cell carcinoma of the anal canal.


Seventeen patients were treated with nine-field IMRT plans. Thirteen received concurrent 5-fluorouracil and mitomycin C, whereas 1 patient received 5-fluorouracil alone. Seven patients were planned with three-dimensional anteroposterior/posterior-anterior (AP/PA) fields for dosimetric comparison to IMRT.


Compared with AP/PA, IMRT reduced the mean and threshold doses to small bowel, bladder, and genitalia. Treatment was well tolerated, with no Grade > or =3 acute nonhematologic toxicity. There were no treatment breaks attributable to gastrointestinal or skin toxicity. Of patients who received mitomycin C, 38% experienced Grade 4 hematologic toxicity. IMRT did not afford bone marrow sparing, possibly resulting from the clinical decision to prescribe 45 Gy to the whole pelvis in most patients, vs. the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group-recommended 30.6 Gy whole pelvic dose. Three of 17 patients, who did not achieve a complete response, proceeded to an abdominoperineal resection and colostomy. At a median follow-up of 20.3 months, there were no other local failures. Two-year overall survival, disease-free survival, and colostomy-free survival are: 91%, 65%, and 82% respectively.


In this hypothesis-generating analysis, the acute toxicity and clinical outcome with IMRT in the treatment of anal cancer is encouraging. Compared with historical controls, local control is not compromised despite efforts to increase conformality and reduce normal structure dose.

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