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Cancer. 1996 May 1;77(9):1918-33.

Five-year experience with combined operative and radiotherapeutic treatment of recurrent gynecologic tumors infiltrating the pelvic wall.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Mainz Medical School, Germany.



Whereas 25 to 50% of selected patients with gynecologic tumors who relapse centrally in an irradiated pelvis can be salvaged by exenteration, postirradiation recurrence infiltrating the pelvic side wall generally has been fatal. We have designed the combined operative and radiotherapeutic treatment (CORT) procedure for the treatment of postirradiation recurrence infiltrating the pelvic wall and developed several new techniques for its realization. The aim of the surgery is as follows: (1) total resection of the tumor with only a microscopic margin (R1) at the pelvic wall, preserving the bony pelvis and the neurovascular support of the leg; (2) modulation of the therapeutic index for a second high-dose irradiation of the pelvic wall by transferring autologous tissue from the abdomen or the thigh, and (3) reconstruction of pelvic organ functions lost due to tumor resection. The tumor bed is irradiated postoperatively with brachytherapy through transcutaneous guide tubes implanted at the pelvic wall.


Between April 1989 and December 1994, we treated 48 patients with postirradiation recurrent or persistent gynecologic malignancies infiltrating the pelvic wall with CORT and followed them prospectively with the following endpoints: tumor control, survival, complications, and quality of life.


At a median follow-up of 33 months (range, 3-71 months), the 5-year survival probability calculated with the Kaplan-Meier method was 44%. The overall local control rate was 68%, and 85% in the last 25 patients in the series. The censored severe complication rate at 5 years was 33%. No patient died as a consequence of the treatment. Quality of life was self-assessed with a validated questionnaire by 15 patients without evidence of disease, and was rated with a total of 74% of the maximum score points. Age of the patient, state of resection at the pelvic wall (R1 vs. R2), and recurrent tumor size independently influenced tumor progression after CORT in this series.


CORT appears to be a feasible, innovative treatment with long term survival potential and acceptable quality of life for selected patients with postirradiation gynecologic tumor recurrence infiltrating the pelvic wall. R1 resection of the tumor at the pelvic wall is mandatory; however, the reconstruction options within the pelvis are limited.

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