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Neoadjuvant and Adjuvant Chemotherapy of Cervical Cancer: Mature Results of the Phase 2 PBM-PFU Protocol
  1. Rebecca McCaffrey, MD*,,
  2. Mert Bahtiyar, MD,
  3. Ernest I. Kohorn, MD,
  4. Joseph T. Chambers, PhD, MD§,
  5. Peter E. Schwartz, MD and
  6. Setsuko K. Chambers, MD*,
  1. *Division of Gynecologic Oncology, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology,
  2. Arizona Cancer Center, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ;
  3. Division of Gynecologic Oncology, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT; and
  4. §Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Long Island College Hospital, Brooklyn, NY.
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to Setsuko K. Chambers, MD, Division of Gynecologic Oncology, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Arizona, 1515 N Campbell Ave, Tucson, AZ 85724. E-mail: schambers{at}


Objective The mature results of the neoadjuvant and adjuvant chemotherapy arms of the nonrandomized, phase 2 Yale University cisplatin, bleomycin, methotrexate, and 5-FU protocol are presented.

Methods Sixty-seven patients were prospectively accrued with a median follow-up of 5.4 years, and standard parameters of toxicity and efficacy were studied. Both univariate and multivariate analyses were applied.

Results The 5-year disease-free survival of 78% for the 25 patients in the adjuvant group, of which 80% had high-risk features including positive margins, parametria, and lymph nodes and 28% had adenocarcinomas, was comparable to recent relevant literature. Only 64% of patients in this group received consolidation radiation therapy, which did not impact on survival. Only 12% of patients recurred distantly. Notably, those who received 4 months or more of chemotherapy had prolonged survival (P = 0.012). In the neoadjuvant group, chemotherapy response rate among 42 patients (with stages 1B-IIIB cancer) was 79% (50% partial response, 29% complete response), and no patient progressed. In the subgroup of 22 patients who underwent surgery after chemotherapy, 59% had nonsquamous histology. Forty-five percent of patients with stage IIB cancer were deemed operable after chemotherapy. Ninety-five percent received postoperative radiation therapy. There was a 9% pathologic complete response rate, with positive lymph nodes found in 27%. Notably, those who received 3 months or less of chemotherapy had improved overall survival (P = 0.030). Survival rates of these 22 patients at 3 and 5 years were 73% and 63%, respectively. Although not randomized, these survival rates were similar to those achieved with chemoradiation.

Conclusions Although there are several logistical/design features of the cisplatin, bleomycin, methotrexate, and 5-FU regimen that are not in line with the current chemotherapy era, our experience with this well-tolerated regimen can serve as a proof of principle. Our data suggests that both neoadjuvant and adjuvant cisplatin-based neoadjuvant chemotherapy may have their place. It also raises the possibility that the optimal duration of chemotherapy in adjuvant cases should be longer than in neoadjuvant cases.

  • Cervical cancer
  • Chemotherapy
  • Neoadjuvant
  • Adjuvant
  • Phase 2 trial

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  • Setsuko K. Chambers is Bobbi Olson Endowed Chair in Ovarian Cancer Research, director of Women's Cancers, Arizona Cancer Center, vice chair, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, professor and director of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Arizona.