Objectives. The goals of this work were to describe the compliance with and acute hematologic toxic effects of chemoradiation for cervical cancer in indigent women and to explore the likelihood that chemoradiation is effective outside research settings. We hypothesized that if compliance and toxicity are not limiting in this high-risk group of patients, the effectiveness of chemoradiation for cervical cancer in community settings is likely to mirror the efficacy demonstrated in clinical trials. Methods. This study is a retrospective review of prospectively maintained data on women with newly diagnosed cervical cancer treated with chemoradiation between August 1998 and August 2000. Cisplatin was given weekly at 40 mg/m2 to a maximum of six courses. A WBC count <3000/mm3 resulted in cancelation of cisplatin but not radiation, and patients were transfused for hemoglobin <9 g/dl. Statistical analysis was performed using the t test, χ2 test, and Fisher's exact test. Results. In all, 19 of 65 patients treated (29.2%) missed at least one chemotherapy cycle, with 10 (15.4%) due to missed appointments, 8 (12.3%) due to a low WBC count, and 1 due to increased creatinine. Nineteen patients (29.2%) received RBC transfusion during chemoradiation, and two (3%) had platelets <75,000/mm3. Noncompliant patients had a lower mean total point A dose (7986 cGy vs 8413 cGy, P = 0.04) and longer overall treatment duration (79 days vs 51 days, P < 0.001). No patient had a fatal hematologic complication. Conclusion. Nearly a third of the indigent women treated with chemoradiation for cervical cancer do not complete the prescribed treatment, and a similar number require blood transfusions. In indigent and minority women, the effectiveness of chemoradiation protocols may not mirror the efficacy obtained in clinical trials.
- Cervical cancer
- Indigent women