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[Operable stage IB and II cancer of the uterine neck: retrospective comparison between preoperative utero-vaginal curietherapy and initial surgery followed by radiotherapy].

PURPOSE: To identify prognostic factors and treatment toxicity in a series of operable stages IB and II cervical carcinomas.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Between May 1972 and January 1994, 414 patients (pts) with cervical carcinoma staged according to the 1995 FIGO staging system underwent radical hysterectomy with (n = 380) or without (n = 34) bilateral pelvic lymph node dissection. Lateral ovarian transposition to preserve ovarian function was performed on 12 pts. The methods of radiation therapy (RT) were not randomised and depended on the usual practices of the surgical teams. Group I: 168 pts received postoperative RT (64 pts received vaginal brachytherapy alone [mean total dose (MD): 50 Gy], 93 pts had external beam pelvis RT (EBPRT) [MD: 45 Gy over 5 weeks] followed by vaginal brachytherapy [MD: 20 Gy], and 11 pts had EBPRT alone [MD: 50 Gy over 6 weeks]. Group II: 246 pts received preoperative utero-vaginal brachytherapy [MD: 65 Gy], and 32 of theses 246 pts also received postoperative EBPRT [MD: 45 Gy over 5 weeks] delivered to the parametric and the pelvic lymph nodes with a midline pelvic shield. The mean follow-up was 106 months.

RESULTS: The 10-year disease-free survival (DFS) rate was 80%. From 75 recurrences, 35 were isolated locoregional. Multivariate analysis showed that independent factors decreasing the probability of DFS were: both exo and endocervical tumour site (p = 0.047), lymph-vascular space invasion (p = 0.041), age < or = 51 yr (p = 0.013), 1995 FIGO staging system (stage IB1 vs stage IIA, p = 0.004, stage IB1 vs stage IB2, p = 0.0009, and stage IB1 vs stage IIB with 1/3 proximal parametrical infiltration, p = 0.00002), and histological pelvic involved lymph nodes (p = 0.00009). Methods of adjuvant RT did not influence the probability of DFS (group I vs group II, p = 0.10). The postoperative complication rate was 10.2% in group I and 8.9% in group II (p = 0.7) but the postoperative urethral complication rate necessitating surgical intervention with reimplantation was lower in group I than in group II (0.6% vs 2.3%, respectively, p = 0.03). The 10-year rate for grade 3 and 4 late radiation complications according to the LENT-SOMA scoring system was 10.4%. EPRT significantly increased the 10-year rate for grade 3 and 4 late radiation complications (yes vs no: 22% vs 7%, respectively, p = 0.0002).

CONCLUSION: In our series, the methods of adjuvant RT (primary surgery vs preoperative uterovaginal brachytherapy) do not seem to influence the prognosis of the stage IB, IIA, and IIB (with 1/3 proximal parametrical involvement only) cervical carcinomas. The postoperative EPRT applied according to histopathological risk factors after surgical treatment increases the risk of late radiation complications.

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