JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Early stage cervical cancer with negative pelvic lymph nodes: pattern of failure and complication following radical hysterectomy and adjuvant radiotherapy.

PURPOSE OF INVESTIGATION: The objective was to optimize the adjuvant treatment for patients with lymph node negative cervical cancer by analyzing patterns of failure and complications following radical hysterectomy and adjuvant radiotherapy.

METHODS: From September 1992 to December 1998, 67 patients with lymph node negative uterine cervical cancer (FIGO stage distribution: 50 Ib. 17 IIa), who had undergone radical hysterectomy and postoperative adjuvant radiotherapy with a minimum of three years of follow-up were evaluated. All patients received 50-58 Gy of external radiation to the lower pelvis followed by two sessions of intravaginal brachytherapy with a prescribed dose of 7.5 Gy to the vaginal mucosa. For 21 patients with lymphovascular invasion, the initial irradiation field included the whole pelvis for 44 Gy. The data were analyzed for actuarial survival (AS), pelvic relapse-free survival (PRFS), distant metastasis-free survival (DMFS), and treatment-related complications. Multivariate analysis was performed to assess the prognostic factors.

RESULTS: The respective five-year AS, PRFS, and DMFS for the 67 patients were 79%, 93% and 87%. Multivariate analysis identified two prognostic factors for AS: bulky tumor vs non-bulky tumor (p = 0.003), positive resection margin (p = 0.03). The independent prognostic factors for DMFS was bulky tumor (p = 0.003), while lymphatic permeation showed marginal impact to DMFS (p = 0.08). The incidence of RTOG grade 1-4 rectal and non-rectal gastrointestinal complication rates were 20.9% and 19.4%, respectively. The independent prognostic factor for gastrointestinal complication was age over 60 years (p = 0.047, relative risk 4.1, 95% CI 1.2 approximately 11.7). The incidence of non-rectal gastrointestinal injury for the patients receiving whole pelvic radiation and lower pelvic radiation was 28.5% and 15.2%, respectively (p = 0.25).

CONCLUSION: For patients with lymph node negative cervical cancer following radical hysterectomy, adjuvant lower pelvic radiation appears to be effective for pelvic control. It is also imperative to intensify the strategies of adjuvant therapy for some subgroups of patients.

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