High versus low dose rate intracavitary irradiation for adenocarcinoma of the uterine cervix

Woo Chul Kim, Gwi Eon Kim, Chang Ok Suh, John J.K. Loh

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Background: Traditionally, low dose rate (LDR) brachytherapy has been used as a standard modality in the treatment of patients with carcinoma of the uterine cervix. The purpose of this work was to evaluate the effects of high dose rate (HDR) brachytherapy on patients with adenocarcinoma of the uterine cervix and to compare them with the effects of LDR brachytherapy. Methods: From January 1971 to December 1992, 104 patients suffering from adenocarcinoma of the uterine cervix were treated with radiation therapy in the Department of Radiation Oncology, Yonsei University. LDR brachytherapy was carried out on 34 patients and HDR brachytherapy on 70 patients. In the LDR group, eight patients were in stage IB, six in IIA, 12 in IIB, three in IIIA and five in IIIB. External radiation therapy was delivered with 10 MV X-rays, 2 Gy fraction per day, total dose of whole pelvis 26-52 Gy (median 46 Gy). LDR radium intracavitary irradiation was performed with a Henschke applicator, 37-59 Gy targeted at point A (median 43 Gy). In the HDR group, there were 16 patients in stage IB, six in IIA, 32 in IIB and 16 in IIIB. The total whole pelvis dose of external radiation was 40-50 Gy (median 44 Gy), daily 1.8-2.0 Gy. HDR Co-60 intracavitary irradiation was performed with a remotely controlled after-loading system (RALS), 30-48 Gy (median 39 Gy) targeted at point A, three times per week, 3 Gy per fraction. Results: The 5-year overall survival rate in the LDR group was 72.9, 61.9 and 35.7% in stage I, II and III, respectively and the corresponding figures for HDR were 87.1, 58.3 and 43.8% (p > 0.05). There was no statistical difference between the HDR group and the LDR group in terms of the 5-year overall survival rate from adenocarcinoma of the uterine cervix. There was a late complication rate of 12% in the LDR group and 27% in the HDR group. The incidence of late complications in stages II and III was higher in the HDR group than in the LDR group (31.6 vs. 16.7% in stage II, 37.3% vs 12.5% in stage III, p > 0.05). No prognostic factors were evident in the comparison between the two groups. Conclusion: There was no difference in terms of 5-year survival rate in the patients with adenocarcinoma of the uterine cervix between those treated with HDR and those treated with LDR brachytherapy. Even though late complication rates were higher in the HDR group, most of them were classified as grade I. This retrospective study suggests that HDR brachytherapy may be able to replace LDR brachytherapy in the treatment of adenocarcinoma of the uterine cervix.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)432-437
Number of pages6
JournalJapanese Journal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2001 Nov 20


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research

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