Definitive irradiation in carcinoma of the vagina: Long-term evaluation of results

Carlos A. Perez, H. Marvin Camel, Andrew E. Galakatos, Perry W. Grigsby, Robert R. Kuske, Gundhilde Buchsbaum, Mary Ann Hederman

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A retrospective analysis of 165 patients with histologically confirmed carcinoma of the vagina is reported. Actuarial disease-free 10-year survival was: Stage 0 (16 patients)-94%, Stage I (50 patients)-75%, Stage IIA (49 patients)-55%, Stage IIB (26 patients)-43%, Stage III (16 patients)-32%, Stage IV (8 patients)-0%. All but one of the in situ lesions were controlled with intracavitary therapy. Of the patients with Stage I disease, 86% showed no evidence of vaginal or pelvic recurrence. Most of them received interstitial or intracavitary therapy or both; the addition of external beam irradiation did not significantly increase survival or tumor control. In Stage IIA (paravaginal extension) 61% of the tumors were controlled with a combination of brachytherapy and external beam irradiation. Ten of 16 Stage III tumors were controlled in the pelvis. Two of the patients with Stage IV disease had no recurrence in the pelvis with relatively high doses of irradiation. The total incidence of distant metastases was 16% in Stage I, 30.6% in Stage IIA, 46.1% in Stage IIB, 62% in Stage III, and 50% in Stage IV. The dose of irradiation delivered to the primary tumor or the parametrial extension was critical in achieving successful results. The incidence of grade 2-3 complications (12%) is correlated with the stage of the tumor and type of treatment given. More effective irradiation techniques including the optimization of dose distribution by judicious combination of external irradiation and interstitial brachytherapy will be necessary to enhance locoregional tumor control. The high incidence of distant metastases underscores the need for earlier diagnosis and effective systemic cytotoxic agents if survival is to be significantly improved in these patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1283-1290
Number of pages8
JournalInternational journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1988


  • Brachytherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Tumor control
  • Vagina


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