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Radiother Oncol. 2011 Jul;100(1):116-23. doi: 10.1016/j.radonc.2011.07.012. Epub 2011 Aug 5.

Clinical outcome of protocol based image (MRI) guided adaptive brachytherapy combined with 3D conformal radiotherapy with or without chemotherapy in patients with locally advanced cervical cancer.

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  • 1Department of Radiotherapy, Medical University of Vienna, Austria.



To analyse the overall clinical outcome and benefits by applying protocol based image guided adaptive brachytherapy combined with 3D conformal external beam radiotherapy (EBRT)±chemotherapy (ChT).


Treatment schedule was EBRT with 45-50.4Gy±concomitant cisplatin chemotherapy plus 4×7Gy High Dose Rate (HDR) brachytherapy. Patients were treated in the "protocol period" (2001-2008) with the prospective application of the High Risk CTV concept (D90) and dose volume constraints for organs at risk including biological modelling. Dose volume adaptation was performed with the aim of dose escalation in large tumours (prescribed D90>85Gy), often with inserting additional interstitial needles. Dose volume constraints (D(2cc)) were 70-75Gy for rectum and sigmoid and 90Gy for bladder. Late morbidity was prospectively scored, using LENT/SOMA Score. Disease outcome and treatment related late morbidity were evaluated and compared using actuarial analysis.


One hundred and fifty-six consecutive patients (median age 58years) with cervix cancer FIGO stages IB-IVA were treated with definitive radiotherapy in curative intent. Histology was squamous cell cancer in 134 patients (86%), tumour size was >5cm in 103 patients (66%), lymph node involvement in 75 patients (48%). Median follow-up was 42months for all patients. Interstitial techniques were used in addition to intracavitary brachytherapy in 69/156 (44%) patients. Total prescribed mean dose (D90) was 93±13Gy, D(2cc) 86±17Gy for bladder, 65±9Gy for rectum and 64±9Gy for sigmoid. Complete remission was achieved in 151/156 patients (97%). Overall local control at 3years was 95%; 98% for tumours 2-5cm, and 92% for tumours >5cm (p=0.04), 100% for IB, 96% for IIB, 86% for IIIB. Cancer specific survival at 3years was overall 74%, 83% for tumours 2-5cm, 70% for tumours >5cm, 83% for IB, 84% for IIB, 52% for IIIB. Overall survival at 3years was in total 68%, 72% for tumours 2-5cm, 65% for tumours >5cm, 74% for IB, 78% for IIB, 45% for IIIB. In regard to late morbidity in total 188 grade 1+2 and 11 grade 3+4 late events were observed in 143 patients. G1+2/G3+4 events for bladder were n=32/3, for rectum n=14/5, for bowel (including sigmoid) n=3/0, for vagina n=128/2, respectively.


3D conformal radiotherapy±chemotherapy plus image (MRI) guided adaptive intracavitary brachytherapy including needle insertion in advanced disease results in local control rates of 95-100% at 3years in limited/favourable (IB/IIB) and 85-90% in large/poor response (IIB/III/IV) cervix cancer patients associated with a moderate rate of treatment related morbidity. Compared to the historical Vienna series there is relative reduction in pelvic recurrence by 65-70% and reduction in major morbidity. The local control improvement seems to have impact on CSS and OS. Prospective clinical multi-centre studies are mandatory to evaluate these challenging mono-institutional findings.

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