Objective Precise delineation of the para-aortic nodal region is critical for the optimal therapeutic ratio of prophylactic para-aortic radiotherapy. We aimed to evaluate the para-aortic control and patient-reported gastrointestinal toxicity in patients with locally advanced cervical cancer who received anatomy-based or margin-based prophylactic para-aortic radiotherapy.
Methods We analyzed 160 patients with locally advanced cervical cancer who received prophylactic extended-field radiotherapy between January 2014 and November 2019 at two tertiary centers. Para-aortic nodal regions were delineated based on the anatomic principle-based atlas or marginal expansion from the aorta and inferior vena cava. The Patient-Reported Outcome version of the Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events was used to assess acute gastrointestinal toxicity, and a score of ≥3 was defined as severe gastrointestinal toxicity.
Results Seventy-six (47.5%) and 84 (52.5%) patients received anatomy-based and margin-based prophylactic para-aortic radiotherapy, respectively. The median follow-up was 40.1 months (IQR 25.5–58.9). Para-aortic nodal failures occurred in one (1.3%) patient in the anatomy-based para-aortic radiotherapy group and in one (1.2%) patient in the margin-based para-aortic radiotherapy group (p=1.00). There was no in-field or marginal para-aortic nodal failure. The 3-year para-aortic recurrence-free survival for anatomy-based and margin-based para-aortic radiotherapy was 98.6% and 98.8%, respectively (p=0.94). Patients who received anatomy-based para-aortic radiotherapy reported less severe acute gastrointestinal toxicity than those who received margin-based para-aortic radiotherapy (13.2% vs 29.8%, p=0.01). A comparison of gastrointestinal toxicities showed that patients who received anatomy-based para-aortic radiotherapy reported significantly less severe gastrointestinal toxicity than those who received margin-based para-aortic radiotherapy in terms of frequency of diarrhea (7.9% vs 20.2%, p=0.03), severity of abdominal pain (3.9% vs 14.3%, p=0.03), and interference of abdominal pain (2.6% vs 11.9%, p=0.03).
Conclusion Anatomy-based prophylactic para-aortic radiotherapy achieved excellent para-aortic control and a lower incidence of severe patient-reported gastrointestinal toxicity. These findings suggest that anatomy-based delineation optimizes clinical outcomes of prophylactic para-aortic radiotherapy in locally advanced cervical cancer.
- cervical cancer
- radiotherapy, intensity-modulated
Data availability statement
Data are available upon reasonable request.
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Contributors Conceptualization: JL. Data curation: JL, J-BL, and C-LC. Formal analysis: Y-TJ and M-HW. Funding acquisition: JL. Supervision: JL, C-LC and Y-JC. Writing - original draft: JL and J-BL. Writing - review and editing: All authors. Guarantor: JL.
Funding This work was supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology Taiwan (grant number: Contract No. MOST 110-2314-B-195-033).
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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