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      Clinical outcome of protocol based image (MRI) guided adaptive brachytherapy combined with 3D conformal radiotherapy with or without chemotherapy in patients with locally advanced cervical cancer

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          To analyse the overall clinical outcome and benefits by applying protocol based image guided adaptive brachytherapy combined with 3D conformal external beam radiotherapy (EBRT) ± chemotherapy (ChT).


          Treatment schedule was EBRT with 45–50.4 Gy ± concomitant cisplatin chemotherapy plus 4 × 7 Gy High Dose Rate (HDR) brachytherapy. Patients were treated in the “protocol period” (2001–2008) with the prospective application of the High Risk CTV concept (D90) and dose volume constraints for organs at risk including biological modelling. Dose volume adaptation was performed with the aim of dose escalation in large tumours (prescribed D90 > 85 Gy), often with inserting additional interstitial needles. Dose volume constraints (D 2cc) were 70–75 Gy for rectum and sigmoid and 90 Gy for bladder.

          Late morbidity was prospectively scored, using LENT/SOMA Score. Disease outcome and treatment related late morbidity were evaluated and compared using actuarial analysis.


          One hundred and fifty-six consecutive patients (median age 58 years) with cervix cancer FIGO stages IB–IVA were treated with definitive radiotherapy in curative intent. Histology was squamous cell cancer in 134 patients (86%), tumour size was >5 cm in 103 patients (66%), lymph node involvement in 75 patients (48%). Median follow-up was 42 months for all patients.

          Interstitial techniques were used in addition to intracavitary brachytherapy in 69/156 (44%) patients. Total prescribed mean dose (D90) was 93 ± 13 Gy, D 2cc 86 ± 17 Gy for bladder, 65 ± 9 Gy for rectum and 64 ± 9 Gy for sigmoid.

          Complete remission was achieved in 151/156 patients (97%). Overall local control at 3 years was 95%; 98% for tumours 2–5 cm, and 92% for tumours >5 cm ( p = 0.04), 100% for IB, 96% for IIB, 86% for IIIB. Cancer specific survival at 3 years was overall 74%, 83% for tumours 2–5 cm, 70% for tumours >5 cm, 83% for IB, 84% for IIB, 52% for IIIB. Overall survival at 3 years was in total 68%, 72% for tumours 2–5 cm, 65% for tumours >5 cm, 74% for IB, 78% for IIB, 45% for IIIB.

          In regard to late morbidity in total 188 grade 1 + 2 and 11 grade 3 + 4 late events were observed in 143 patients. G1 + 2/G3 + 4 events for bladder were n = 32/3, for rectum n = 14/5, for bowel (including sigmoid) n = 3/0, for vagina n = 128/2, respectively.


          3D conformal radiotherapy ± chemotherapy plus image (MRI) guided adaptive intracavitary brachytherapy including needle insertion in advanced disease results in local control rates of 95–100% at 3 years in limited/favourable (IB/IIB) and 85–90% in large/poor response (IIB/III/IV) cervix cancer patients associated with a moderate rate of treatment related morbidity. Compared to the historical Vienna series there is relative reduction in pelvic recurrence by 65–70% and reduction in major morbidity. The local control improvement seems to have impact on CSS and OS. Prospective clinical multi-centre studies are mandatory to evaluate these challenging mono-institutional findings.

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          Most cited references 48

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          Carcinoma of the cervix uteri. FIGO 26th Annual Report on the Results of Treatment in Gynecological Cancer.

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            Computed tomography versus magnetic resonance imaging-based contouring in cervical cancer brachytherapy: results of a prospective trial and preliminary guidelines for standardized contours.

            To compare the contours and dose-volume histograms (DVH) of the tumor and organs at risk (OAR) with computed tomography (CT) vs. magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in cervical cancer brachytherapy. Ten patients underwent both MRI and CT after applicator insertion. The dose received by at least 90% of the volume (D(90)), the minimal target dose (D(100)), the volume treated to the prescription dose or greater for tumor for the high-risk (HR) and intermediate-risk (IR) clinical target volume (CTV) and the dose to 0.1 cm3, 1 cm3, and 2 cm3 for the OARs were evaluated. A standardized approach to contouring on CT (CT(Std)) was developed, implemented (HR- and IR-CTV(CTStd)), and compared with the MRI contours. Tumor height, thickness, and total volume measurements, as determined by either CT or CT(Std) were not significantly different compared with the MRI volumes. In contrast, the width measurements differed in HR-CTV(CTStd) (p = 0.05) and IR-CTV(CTStd) (p = 0.01). For the HR-CTV(CTStd), this resulted in statistically significant differences in the volume treated to the prescription dose or greater (MRI, 96% vs. CT(Std), 86%, p = 0.01), D(100) (MRI, 5.4 vs. CT(Std), 3.4, p <0.01), and D(90) (MRI, 8.7 vs. CT(Std), 6.7, p <0.01). Correspondingly, the IR-CTV DVH values on MRI vs. CT(Std), differed in the D(100) (MRI, 3.0 vs. CT(Std), 2.2, p = 0.01) and D(90) (MRI, 5.6 vs. CT(Std), 4.6, p = 0.02). The MRI and CT DVH values of the dose to 0.1 cm3, 1 cm3, and 2 cm3 for the OARs were similar. Computed tomography-based or MRI-based scans at brachytherapy are adequate for OAR DVH analysis. However, CT tumor contours can significantly overestimate the tumor width, resulting in significant differences in the D(90), D(100), and volume treated to the prescription dose or greater for the HR-CTV compared with that using MRI. MRI remains the standard for CTV definition.
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              Clinical impact of MRI assisted dose volume adaptation and dose escalation in brachytherapy of locally advanced cervix cancer.

              To investigate the clinical impact of MRI based cervix cancer brachytherapy combined with external beam radiochemotherapy applying dose volume adaptation and dose escalation in a consecutive group of patients with locally advanced cervix cancer. In the period 1998-2003, 145 patients with cervix cancer stages IB-IVA were treated with definitive radiotherapy +/- cisplatin chemotherapy. Median age was 60 years. In 67 patients, the tumour size was 2-5 cm, in 78 patients it was >5 cm. In 29 cases the standard intracavitary technique was combined with interstitial brachytherapy. Total prescribed dose was 80-85 Gy (total biologically equivalent dose in 2 Gy fractions). Since 2001, MRI based treatment planning integrated systematic concepts for High Risk Clinical Target Volume (HR CTV) and organs at risk (OAR), biological modelling, Dose-Volume-Histogram analysis, dose-volume-adaptation (D90, D 2 cm(3)), and dose escalation, if appropriate and feasible. Dose volume adaptation was performed in 130/145 patients. The mean D90 during the whole period was 86 Gy, with a mean D90 of 81 Gy and 90 Gy during the first and second period, respectively (p 5 cm it was 71% in 1998-2000 and 90% in 2001-2003 (p=0.05). Progression free survival (PFS) for true pelvis (local control) was 85%, PFS for distant metastases was 80%, both at 3 years. Local control for tumours >5 cm was 64% in 1998-2000 and 82% in 2001-2003 (p=0.09) and 100% and 96%, respectively, for tumours 2-5 cm. PFS for distant metastases remained the same during the two treatment periods with 79% and 80%. Overall survival (OS) was 58%, and cancer-specific survival (CSS) was 68% at 3 years. In the two different periods improvement in OS was from 53% to 64% (p=0.03) and in CSS from 62% to 74% (p=0.13). Improvement occurred only in tumours >5 cm: OS 28% versus 58% (p=0.003); CSS 40% versus 62% (p=0.07). Actuarial late morbidity rate (LENT SOMA, grades 3 and 4) at 3 years was gastrointestinal 4%, urinary 4% and vaginal 5% (stage IIA/IIIA). Gastrointestinal and urinary late morbidity (G3,G4) was 10% in 1998-2000 and 2% in 2001-2003. In locally advanced extensive cervix cancer, local control of > or = 85% can be achieved with low treatment related morbidity (G3/G4), when exploiting the potential of MRI based 3D treatment planning including dose volume adaptation and dose escalation and a combined intracavitary/interstitial brachytherapy, if appropriate. A significant impact of this improvement of local control on survival is to be expected. For locally advanced limited disease the MRI based approach will likely result in assuring excellent local control (> or = 95%) and in minimizing treatment related morbidity.

                Author and article information

                Radiother Oncol
                Radiother Oncol
                Radiotherapy and Oncology
                Elsevier Scientific Publishers
                July 2011
                July 2011
                : 100
                : 1
                : 116-123
                [a ]Department of Radiotherapy, Medical University of Vienna, Austria
                [b ]Department of Radiation Oncology, Metropolitan Hospital, Athens, Greece
                [c ]Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Medical University of Vienna, Austria
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding author. Address: Department of Radiotherapy, Comprehensive Cancer Center Vienna, Medical University of Vienna, General Hospital of Vienna, 18-20 Währinger Gürtel, A-1090 Vienna, Austria. richard.poetter@ richard.poetter@
                © 2011 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.

                This document may be redistributed and reused, subject to certain conditions.

                Brachytherapy of Cervical Cancer


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