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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 1998 Feb 1;40(3):605-13.

Trends in the use of radiation and chemotherapy in the initial management of patients with carcinoma of the uterine cervix.

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  • 1Radiological Associates of Sacramento, CA, USA.



The Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons conducts Patient Care Evaluation studies to describe practice patterns and trends in disease management. This report surveys changing strategies in the initial treatment of patients with invasive cancer of the uterine cervix.


Using a standard data collection form designed by a multidisciplinary committee of specialists, cancer registrars at 703 hospitals submitted anonymous data on 11,721 total cervical cancer patients diagnosed in 1984 and 1990.


Between the two study years, the use of radiation as all, or a component, of the initial course of therapy declined from 70 to 60.3%, coincident with a 32.3% increase in the use of hysterectomy alone and a 33.7% reduction in the use of radiation alone. The percentage of all patients receiving combined hysterectomy and radiation (preoperative or postoperative) remained virtually unchanged--10.2% in 1984, and 9.3% in 1990. However, women who were treated by hysterectomy in 1990 were less likely to receive radiation as part of their treatment than patients treated by hysterectomy in 1984. Among patients treated by radiation without hysterectomy, the use of intracavitary brachytherapy techniques substantially exceeded interstitial brachytherapy techniques in both study years. Among patients treated by local radiation without hysterectomy, the frequency of adjunctive chemotherapy use increased from 6.9% in 1984 to 24.8% in 1990, with chemotherapy and radiation increasingly administered concurrently rather than sequentially. Although differences based on age, histology, race/ethnicity, and insurance status were observed, these general management trends were seen in all groups.


Changes in the utilization of radiation and surgery may reflect the increasing surgical involvement of gynecologic oncologists in the management of early stage cervical cancer, rather than significant alterations in the demographics of the disease. Although brachytherapy is recognized as an important component of radiation treatment, some patients may not receive the potential benefit of this modality. Despite controversy concerning its efficacy, the use of adjuvant systemic chemotherapy to supplement local treatment modalities appears to be increasing rapidly.

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