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Efficacy and toxicity of postoperative external beam radiotherapy or chemoradiation for early-stage cervical cancer
  1. Mick J E van den Akker1,2,
  2. Nanda Horeweg1,
  3. Jogchum Jan Beltman2,
  4. Carien L Creutzberg1 and
  5. Remi A Nout1
  1. 1Radiation Oncology, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands
  2. 2Gynaecology, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Dr Nanda Horeweg, Radiation Oncology, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden 2333, The Netherlands; n.horeweg{at}


Objective The aim of this study was to assess the impact of the evolving role of the addition of chemotherapy to postoperative radiotherapy on oncological outcomes and toxicity in patients with early-stage cervical cancer after radical hysterectomy.

Methods Retrospective cohort study of patients with stage IB1–IIB FIGO 2009 cervical cancer treated from November 1999 to May 2015 by primary surgery and radiotherapy (46–50.4 Gy in 1.8–2.0 Gy fractions) with or without concurrent cisplatin (40 mg/m2, 5–6 weekly cycles) with or without a brachytherapy boost. Chemotherapy was allocated depending on the risk factors for recurrence. Incidences of all outcomes were calculated using Kaplan–Meier’s methodology and compared by log-rank tests. Risk factors for recurrence and survival were identified using Cox’s proportional hazards models.

Results A total of 154 patients were included, median follow-up was 9.6 years (IQR: 6.1–12.8). Five-year pelvic recurrence-free survival was 75.3%; 74.7% in patients with high-risk factors treated with radiotherapy; and 77.3% in those treated with chemoradiation (P=0.43). Distant metastasis-free survival at 5 years was 63.4%; 63.6% in high-risk patients after radiotherapy; and 57.1% after chemoradiation (P=0.36). Five-year overall survival was 63.9%: 66.8% and 51.6% after radiotherapy and after chemoradiation in patients with high-risk factors (P=0.37), respectively. Large tumor size was a risk factor for vaginal and pelvic recurrence, ≥2 involved lymph nodes was a significant risk factor for para-aortic recurrence and death. Mild treatment-related late toxicity was observed in 53.9% of the patients. Five-year severe (grade 3–5) late rectal, bladder, bowel, and vaginal toxicities were, respectively, 1.3%, 0%, 3.4%, and 0.9%. Any late severe toxicity was observed in 5.5% of patients treated with radiotherapy and in 15.3% of those treated with chemoradiation (P=0.07).

Conclusion Postoperative (chemo)radiation for early-stage cervical cancer patients with risk factors for recurrence yields adequate pelvic tumor control, but overall survival is limited due to distant metastasis.

  • cervical cancer
  • radiotherapy
  • surgical procedures, operative

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  • Contributors Study design: RAN, NH. Data collection: MJEvdA, RANData analysis: MJEvdA, NH. Manuscript writing: MJEvdA, NH, JJB, CLC, RAN. Manuscript contribution and approval: MJEvdA, NH, JJB, CLC, RAN.None of the authors employed writing assistance for this 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.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval This study was approved by the LUMC Research Ethics Committee under protocol number G19.095. Due to the retrospective nature of the study, informed consent was waived.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement No data are available. There is no ethical permission for sharing deidentified participant data.