Current management of patients with invasive cervical carcinoma

Perry W. Grigsby, Thomas J. Herzog

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


After the logic of evidence-based medicine, there are several conclusions to be reached from these recent prospective, randomized phase III clinical trials. Patients with stages IB2 and IIA cervical carcinoma, although technically manageable, should be treated with external pelvic irradiation and brachytherapy and weekly (cisplatin 40 mg/m2 × 6 wk), if it is suspected that the likelihood of positive lymph nodes or margins requiring adjuvant treatment after radical surgery would be significant. In those patients in whom the risks of either positive margins or lymph nodes are low, either radical surgery or radiation are equally efficacious options. A recent report that surveyed the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results program database suggested that there may be a survival advantage for surgical intent-to-treat patients compared with the radiation intent-to-treat patients for tumors 4 cm or smaller in patients with stage IB and IIA cervical cancers. Certainly, toxicity criteria for these patients in terms of long-term problems need to be further examined. For those patients who undergo a radical hysterectomy and lymph node dissection, postoperative irradiation is indicated if high-risk factors such as large tumor size, lymph vascular space invasion, and deep stromal invasion are identified. Patients who are found to have positive lymph nodes, positive parametrial invasion, or positive margins at the time of hysterectomy should receive postoperative irradiation with chemotherapy. All other patients with more advanced clinical stages of cervical carcinoma should be treated with external pelvic irradiation, brachytherapy, and concurrent chemotherapy. Based on the results of the randomized studies, there appears to be no role for either hydroxyurea or fluorouracil. The chemotherapy agent of choice, at present, is cisplatin administered concurrently with irradiation at a dose of 40 mg/m2 weekly for 6 weeks. Concurrent chemotherapy should be avoided in patients with a poor performance status and other severe comorbidities, and these patients should be treated with irradiation alone. Further refinement of treatment for those patients who require combined chemo/radiation versus those with comorbidities such that combination chemotherapy is actually too toxic must be defined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)531-537
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 27 2001


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