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Radiation therapy in the definitive management of medically inoperable endometrial cancer

Abstract

The incidence of endometrial cancer continues to increase worldwide with growing life expectancy and rates of obesity. While endometrial cancer is primarily a surgical disease managed with hysterectomy, a small proportion of patients are deemed to be poor surgical candidates due to their co-morbidities. These medically inoperable patients should be considered for curative treatment with definitive radiation therapy, and brachytherapy is an integral component of their care. Referral to a high-volume center early on in the care of potentially inoperable patients is crucial to optimize their management. These patients should be evaluated by a high-risk surgical and anesthesia team to confirm their medical inoperability. For inoperable patients, use of image-guided brachytherapy is encouraged. Brachytherapy applicator selection is determined based on a patient’s anatomy, uterine size, and extent of tumor. Advances in anatomic and functional imaging including multiparametric magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) have improved clinical staging of these patients and have also allowed for the delivery of three-dimensional image-guided brachytherapy with improved accuracy. With recent consensus guidelines to guide local computed tomography and/or MRI volume-based delineation of targets and organs-at-risk, local outcomes have improved and treatments are delivered with less acute and late morbidity. Ongoing trials are looking at novel systemic agents, such as immunotherapy, to induce a systemic anti-tumor immune response and improve outcomes in these patients.

  • radiotherapy
  • image-guided
  • uterine cancer

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