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Gynecol Oncol. 1998 Nov;71(2):291-8.

Cervical cancer in the elderly treated with radiation therapy.

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Department of Radiation and Cellular Oncology, Section of Gynecology Oncology, Chicago, Illinois, 60637, USA.



The aim of this study was to evaluate the tolerance and outcome of elderly cervical carcinoma patients treated with radiation therapy (RT).


Three hundred ninety-eight patients with stage I-III cervical carcinoma treated with definitive RT were analyzed. Patients were divided into nonelderly (ages 35-69) (n = 338) and elderly (ages >/= 70) (n = 60) groups. A comparison of patient, tumor and treatment factors, morbidity, and outcome was performed. Median follow-up was 81 months.


Elderly patients had a higher rate of comorbid conditions including diabetes (P = 0. 02), coronary artery disease (P = 0.003), and hypertension (P = 0. 001) than younger patients. Comorbid conditions in the elderly resulted in more frequent treatment breaks and less ability to undergo definitive treatment with intracavitary RT (ICRT). While the 5-year actuarial disease-free (DFS) and cause-specific (CSS) survival rates were comparable between the two groups, disease recurrence and death from cervical cancer were more common beyond 5 years in the elderly group. When patients not undergoing ICRT and those with treatment protraction were excluded, differences in the DFS and CSS curves were no longer evident. The frequency and severity of acute and chronic sequelae were similar.


Elderly cervical carcinoma patients have an equivalent overall outcome following radiation therapy to younger patients when comparable treatment is delivered. Age per se is not associated with a higher rate of acute or chronic sequelae. Comorbid conditions adversely impacted on the quality and delivery of RT in the elderly group and help explain observed differences in outcome based on age.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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