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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 1998 Jul 1;41(4):823-30.

The prognostic significance of pre- and posttreatment SCC levels in patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the cervix treated by radiotherapy.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan.



To investigate the prognostic significance of the pre- and posttreatment serum squamous cell carcinoma antigen (SCC) levels in patients with Stage I-IVA squamous cell carcinoma of the cervix primarily treated by radiotherapy.


401 patients with squamous cell carcinoma of cervix primarily treated with radiotherapy (RT) were included in this study. All had preRT, and 249 patients had postRT serum SCC values. The association of pretreatment SCC level with the clinical parameters, including stage, hemoglobin (Hb) level, age, cell differentiation, and lymph node status, was assessed by univariate and multivariate analysis. The prognostic significance of pretreatment SCC level and these clinical parameters were evaluated. The impact of postRT residual induration and SCC levels on survival was analyzed.


1. PreRT SCC level strongly correlated with stage. After controlling for stage, only SCC levels higher than 10 ng/ml were associated with enlarged lymph nodes shown in CT scan. No association of preRT SCC level with other clinical parameters was found. 2. SCC level higher than 10 ng/ml, but not between 2-10 ng/ml, had significant impact on survival in a multivariate analysis. Stage, Hb levels (<10 g/dl) and positive lymph node shown by CT scan were also independent prognostic factors for survival. No significant difference in failure pattern in terms of local and/or distant sites was found in patients with different SCC levels. 3. Patients with residual induration and/or persistently elevated SCC level at 2-3 months after RT had a significantly higher incidence of treatment failure. Persistently elevated SCC level is a stronger predictor for treatment failure than residual induration by pelvic examination, and is associated with a higher incidence of distant metastasis. One third of patients with initial SCC level higher than 10 ng/ml had persistently elevated SCC.


Pretreatment SCC levels higher than 10 ng/ml are an independent predictor for poor prognosis in patients included in this study, and can be used as one of the prognostic factors for selection of patients for intensive treatment. Persistently elevated SCC levels after RT is a strong predictor for treatment failure. A combination of clinical pelvic examination and SCC levels provides useful information for the need of further work-up and management.

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