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Pathologic complete remission after preoperative intracavitary radiotherapy of cervical cancer stage Ib and IIa is a strong prognostic factor for long-term survival: analysis of the Radiumhemmet data 1989–1991
  1. C Beskow1,
  2. A.-K Ågren-Cronqvist2,
  3. F Granath4,
  4. B Frankendal1 and
  5. R Lewensohn3
  1. 1 Departments of Gynecologic Oncology and
  2. 2 Hospital Physics, Radiumhemmet, Karolinska Hospital, and
  3. 3 Unit of Medical Radiation Biology, Cancer Centre Karolinska, Karolinska Hospital, and
  4. 4 Department of Medical Epidemiology, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the treatment results of preoperative brachytherapy and the prognostic value of pathologic complete remission after preoperative intracavitary irradiation in patients with stage Ib and IIa cervical carcinoma in relation to recurrence rate and survival. The clinical records of 185 patients with stage Ib (129 patients) and IIa (56 patients) cervical carcinoma, consecutively admitted to Radiumhemmet from January 1989 to December 1991 were reviewed. The median follow-up time was 71 months. In 121 patients the treatment consisted of uterovaginal intracavitary irradiation, according to the Stockholm technique, followed by surgery. Tumor remission assessed in the surgical specimen was classified as pathologic complete remission (pCR) if no microscopic tumor was found or incomplete pathologic remission (non-pCR) if microscopic residual tumor was found. Postoperative external beam radiation was added to cases with metastases in pelvic nodes or residual tumor in the resection margins. The disease-specific 5-year survival was 87% and 75% for stage Ib and IIa, respectively, for the patient population treated with preoperative intracavitary radiotherapy and surgery. After intracavitary radiation, 79% of the patients obtained pCR of the primary tumor. Five-year survival in those with pCR was 95%, compared with 46% in those with non-pCR (P < 0.0001). Patients with pCR and no lymph node metastases had a 98% 5-year survival as compared to a 5-year survival of 64% in patients with non-pCR and node negativity (P < 0.0001). Locoregional relapses were diagnosed in 2% of the patients with pCR compared to 54% in patients with non-pCR (P < 0.0001). Multivariate analysis revealed non-pCR (RR = 6.42) and node positivity (RR = 4.59) as nonfavorable factors for survival, while tumor size was not found to be of independent significance for survival. Pathologic complete remission after intracavitary irradiation is a strong favorable prognostic factor in node-negative patients. The combination of preoperative intracavitary radiotherapy and surgery results in a high cure rate and aids in identifying patients at risk for relapse who might be subject to adjuvant therapy.

  • cervical carcinoma
  • pathologic complete remission
  • preoperative intracavitary radiotherapy
  • survival

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