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Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012 Oct 17;10:CD006469. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD006469.pub2.

Chemotherapy for metastatic and recurrent cervical cancer.

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Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, Exeter, UK.



Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer among women up to 65 years of age and is the most frequent cause of death from gynaecological cancers worldwide. A woman's risk of developing cervical cancer by 65 years of age ranges from 0.69% in developed countries to 1.38% in developing countries. Although screening by Pap smear should mean early detection at a curable stage for most women, many still present with advanced or metastatic disease with a worse prognosis. The addition of platinum-based chemotherapy to radiotherapy has improved outcome compared to radiotherapy alone; however, 30% to 50% fail to respond to treatment or develop recurrent disease. There are no standard treatment options for these patients, although platinum-based chemotherapy is frequently used and trials are on-going.


To compare different types and combinations of cytotoxic chemotherapy for the treatment of metastatic/recurrent cervical cancer.


We searched the Cochrane Gynaecological Cancer Group Specialised Register, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL, Issue 1, 2012), MEDLINE (1950 to January 2012) and EMBASE (1980 to January 2012). The reference lists from these and those of review articles were also checked.


All randomised controlled trials (RCTs) involving chemotherapy for metastatic/recurrent cervical cancer. Trials involving radiotherapy, chemoradiotherapy, intra-arterial chemotherapy, biological agents or immunomodulators were excluded.


Three review authors independently reviewed trials for inclusion and data extraction and assessed risk of bias.


There were no data comparing best supportive care with chemotherapy. Cisplatin-based regimens are the most widely used and therefore we have concentrated on these trials. In terms of response rates some non-platinum regimens are equivalent but toxicity is higher. The most common cisplatin regimen was 50 mg/m(2) day 1 q21days. Higher doses had similar survivals. There was no direct comparison between single-agent cisplatin and carboplatin. Overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) were not adequately reported and quality of life (QoL) outcomes were incompletely documented. Combination regimens were more toxic than single agents, but in the limited reported data this did not appear to adversely affect QoL.No significant difference in response rate by site of recurrence was found, although there was a trend towards improved response when the main site of disease was beyond the previously irradiated pelvis.


Combination cisplatin-based chemotherapy could be a viable option for patients of good performance status with recurrent/metastatic cervical cancer, but further trials that report adequate survival and QoL data are sought. Response rates and improvements in survival are low. Cisplatin-based combinations have significant toxicity. Outcomes are poor and novel cytotoxic/biological agents and optimal scheduling need further investigation. Future trials need to stratify for and perform planned subgroup analysis with respect to previous treatment and site of recurrence.

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