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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 1997 Jan 15;37(2):351-8.

Late rectal sequelae following definitive radiation therapy for carcinoma of the uterine cervix: a dosimetric analysis.

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  • 1Department of Radiation and Cellular Oncology, University of Chicago Hospitals, IL 60637, USA.



This study attempted to correlate patient, treatment, and dosimetric factors with the risk of late rectal sequelae in patients treated with radiation therapy (RT) for cervical carcinoma.


A total of 183 patients with cervical carcinoma (67 Stage I, 93 Stage II, and 23 Stage III) treated with definitive RT with a minimum of 2 years follow-up were evaluated. Treatment consisted of external beam pelvic RT (EBRT) followed by intracavitary RT (ICRT) consisting of one or two insertions. Complications were scored and analyzed as a function of 25 patient and treatment factors. Conventional total rectal doses were obtained by adding together the EBRT and ICRT rectal doses. To account for differences in dose rate between the ICRT and EBRT, and variations in EBRT fractionation schemes, biologically equivalent rectal doses (BED) were calculated using a linear quadratic model. In addition, the influence of the varying proportions of EBRT and ICRT rectal doses were evaluated.


Twenty-eight patients (15.3%) developed late rectal sequelae (13 Grade 1, 3 Grade 2, and 12 Grade 3). Diabetes (p = 0.03), Point A dose (p = 0.04), and conventional EBRT dose (p = 0.03) were the most significant factors on multivariate analysis. Logistic regression analysis demonstrated a low risk (<10%) of late rectal sequelae below conventional and biological rectal doses of 75 Gy and 135 BED, respectively. The percentage of rectal dose delivered by the EBRT significantly influenced the dose-response relationship. A defined threshold percentage above which rectal sequelae were more common was identified over the range of doses evaluated. This threshold was 87% at a total rectal dose of 60 Gy and decreased to 60% at 80 Gy.


Diabetes, Point A, and EBRT doses are the most significant factors associated with the risk of late rectal sequelae in patients treated with RT for cervical carcinoma. The percentage of rectal dose delivered by the EBRT significantly affects the conventional and biological dose-response relationship. This suggests that the volume of rectum irradiated is an important and independent parameter in the development of late rectal sequelae.

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