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Radiat Oncol. 2013 Apr 5;8:79. doi: 10.1186/1748-717X-8-79.

Carbon-ion radiotherapy for marginal lymph node recurrences of cervical cancer after definitive radiotherapy: a case report.


Recurrences of cervical cancer after definitive radiotherapy often occur at common iliac or para-aortic lymph nodes as marginal lymph node recurrences. Patients with these recurrences have a chance of long-term survival by optimal re-treatment with radiotherapy. However, the re-irradiation often overlaps the initial and the secondary radiotherapy fields and can result in increased normal tissue toxicities in the bowels or the stomach. Carbon-ion radiotherapy, a form of particle beam radiotherapy using accelerated carbon ions, offers more conformal and sharp dose distribution than X-ray radiotherapy. Therefore, this approach enables the delivery of high radiation doses to the target while sparing its surrounding normal tissues. Marginal lymph node recurrences in common iliac lymph nodes after radiotherapy were treated successfully by carbon-ion radiotherapy in two patients. These two patients were initially treated with a combination of external beam radiotherapy and intracavitary and interstitial brachytherapy. However, the diseases recurred in the lymph nodes near the border of the initial radiotherapy fields after 22 months and 23 months. Because re-irradiation with X-ray radiotherapy may deliver high doses to a section of the bowels, carbon-ion radiotherapy was selected to treat the lymph node recurrences. A total dose of 48 Gy (RBE) in 12 fractions over 3 weeks was given to the lymph node recurrences, and the tumors disappeared completely with no severe acute toxicities. The two patients showed no evidence of disease for 75 months and 63 months after the initial radiotherapy and for 50 months and 37 months after the carbon-ion radiotherapy, respectively. No severe late adverse effects are observed in these patients. The two presented cases suggest that the highly conformal dose distribution of carbon-ion radiotherapy may be beneficial in the treatment of marginal lymph node recurrences after radiotherapy. In addition, the higher biological effect of carbon-ion radiotherapy and its superior dose distribution may provide more effective tumor control in treatment for re-irradiation of the marginal recurrences in radiation resistant tumors other than cervical cancer.

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