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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 1991 Sep;21(4):919-23.

Analysis of complications in patients with endometrial carcinoma receiving adjuvant irradiation.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA.


We analyzed the complications in 310 patients with pathologically documented endometrial carcinoma who received adjuvant radiation therapy (RT) at Fox Chase Cancer Center between 1970 and 1986. Variables included timing of treatment, technique, total dose, age, diabetes, previous abdominal surgery, hypertension, prior bowel pathology, and lymphadenectomy. According to the FIGO (1985) system, 258 patients had Stage I disease, 48 had Stage II, and one had Stage III. One hundred seventy patients received preoperative (preop) RT, 138 received postoperative (postop) RT, and 2 received preop and postop RT. A 4-field technique was used for 212 of 235 patients receiving external-beam (EX) RT, and 75 patients were treated with intracavitary (IC) RT only. Median follow-up was 5.5 years. Actuarial survival of all 310 patients was 78% at 5 years. Thirty-two complications occurred, involving the rectum, small bowel, femur, or lower extremity. Complications were graded according to the ECOG scoring system as grade 2 (mild) and grades 3, 4, or 5 (serious). One of 75 patients treated with IC RT only experienced a grade-2 complication (proctitis). Of 71 patients receiving 4-field EX RT only, 25 preop (16%) and 14 postop (14%) patients had complications. Of 139 patients treated with both EX and IC RT, grade-2 complications were seen in 5% of 87 preop patients and 12% of 52 postop patients (p = 0.17), whereas serious complications were observed in 4% of each group. Univariate analysis of the variables of interest revealed that the incidence of complications was associated with a lymphadenectomy (p = .03), use of external RT (p less than .01), and decreasing age (p = .04). Multivariate analysis confirmed that use of external RT was the most significant predictor for complications. In conclusion, similar complication rates were found in patients treated with either preop or postop 4-field EX RT. While pelvic RT clearly decreases pelvic relapse in patient with endometrial carcinoma, the risk benefit ratio for treatment of these patients should be carefully considered when recommending adjuvant RT for pelvic control.

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