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Vaginal cuff brachytherapy for endometrial cancer: a review of major clinical trials with a focus on fractionation
  1. Matthew W Parsons,
  2. Y Jessica Huang,
  3. Lindsay Burt,
  4. Gita Suneja and
  5. David Gaffney
  1. Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Utah Health Huntsman Cancer Institute, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr David Gaffney, Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Utah Health Huntsman Cancer Institute, Salt Lake City, UT 84112-5500, USA; david.gaffney{at}


The use of vaginal cuff brachytherapy in the adjuvant management of endometrial cancer has increased over time. Recommendations from the American Brachytherapy Society, American Society of Radiation Oncology, and European Society for Medical Oncology help to guide the application of vaginal cuff brachytherapy. However, wide variation in practice remains regarding treatment techniques. This article reviews the use of vaginal cuff brachytherapy in the post-operative management of endometrial cancer. It covers risk stratification, treatment rationale, outcomes, and treatment planning recommendations with a specific focus on dose-fractionation regimens. The authors performed a thorough literature review of articles pertinent to the goals of this review. Also presented are early results of the Short Course Adjuvant Vaginal Cuff Brachytherapy in Early Endometrial Cancer Compared with Standard of Care (SAVE) trial of a two-fraction vaginal cuff brachytherapy regimen.

Adjuvant vaginal cuff brachytherapy for early-stage endometrial cancer results in excellent disease control with minimal toxicity. The PORTEC-2 trial showed that vaginal cuff brachytherapy is non-inferior to external beam radiation for vaginal recurrence in patients at high-intermediate risk. Vaginal cuff brachytherapy may also be used as a boost following external beam radiation in combination with chemotherapy for high-risk histologies. Numerous techniques can be used for vaginal cuff brachytherapy, including various medical devices, dose-fractionation schedules, and treatment planning approaches. The early control results of the SAVE trial are promising and we are hopeful that this trial establishes two fraction regimens as a viable option for vaginal cuff brachytherapy.

  • radiation oncology
  • uterine cancer

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  • Contributors The authors confirm equal contribution on study design, data collection, case analysis, and manuscript preparation. All authors reviewed the results and approved the final version of the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.