Purpose: To compare clinical outcomes between low-dose-rate (LDR) brachytherapy and high-dose-rate (HDR) brachytherapy for cervical cancer patients. Methods and Materials: All consecutive newly diagnosed cervical cancer patients undergoing pretreatment 18-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography imaging and treated with curative-intent definitive chemoradiation from 1997 to 2016 at a U.S. academic center were included. Brachytherapy boost was LDR or HDR 2D treatment planning from 1997 to 2005 and HDR with MR-based 3D planning from 2005 to 2016. Local control (LC), cancer-specific survival (CSS), and late bowel/bladder complications were evaluated. Results: Tumor stages were International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics IB1-IIB (n = 457; 75%) and III-IVA (n = 152; 25%). Brachytherapy was LDR for 104 patients and HDR for 505 patients. Concurrent weekly cisplatin was administered to 536 patients (88%). With median followup of 9.4 years, there was no difference in LC (p = 0.24) or CSS (p = 0.50) between LDR and HDR brachytherapy. Cox multivariable regression showed that only International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics stage III-IVA (HR=2.4, p = 0.004) was associated with worse LC. A propensity-matched cohort (90 LDR vs. 90 HDR) was created, and the 5-year LC rates were 88% LDR and 82% HDR, p = 0.26; 5-year CSS rates were 66% LDR and 58% HDR, p = 0.19; 5-year grade ≥3 bowel/bladder toxicities were 23% LDR and 16% HDR, p = 0.44. For all patients, the 5-year late toxicity in stage III-IVA patients was higher with LDR 47% vs. HDR 15%, p = 0.03, with no difference in LC, 86% and 75%, respectively (p = 0.09). Conclusions: There was no difference in LC with either LDR or HDR brachytherapy. The late complication rate was reduced with HDR and 3D-planned brachytherapy compared to LDR and 2D-planned brachytherapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)353-360
Number of pages8
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2019


  • Brachytherapy
  • Cervical cancer
  • Chemoradiation
  • High-dose-rate
  • Image-guided adaptive brachytherapy
  • Low-dose-rate


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