Definitive radiation therapy for invasive carcinoma of the vagina: impact of high-dose rate intracavitary brachytherapy

Tetsuo Nonaka, Yuko Nakayama, Nobutaka Mizoguchi, Ryo Onose, Hisamori Kato, Hiroki Nakayama
International Journal of Clinical Oncology 2013, 18 (2): 314-20

BACKGROUND: This study was designed to evaluate the efficacy of definitive radiation therapy (RT) for invasive carcinoma of the vagina.

METHODS: Twenty-six patients with invasive carcinoma of the vagina who received RT were studied retrospectively. The median age was 68 years. The pathologic subtype of vaginal carcinoma was squamous cell carcinoma in 24 patients, adenosquamous cell carcinoma in one patient, and adenocarcinoma in one patient. The distribution of clinical stage according to the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics staging system was as follows: stage I, seven patients; stage II, 10 patients, stage III, seven patients; and stage IVA, two patients. Twenty patients received external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) combined with high-dose rate intracavitary brachytherapy (HDR-ICBT), and three received EBRT alone. The remaining three patients with stage I disease were given HDR-ICBT alone. The median dose was 50 Gy for EBRT, and 23 Gy for HDR-ICBT. Systemic chemotherapy was administered concurrently with RT to three patients.

RESULTS: The median follow-up was 90 months. The initial rate of response to RT was 100%, and complete remission was attained in 21 patients (81%). The 5-year overall survival rate (OS) and the median survival time of the 26 patients were 57% and 97 months, respectively. The 5-year OS for the three patients who received HDR-ICBT alone was 100%. Severe toxicity occurred in three patients-grade 3 rectal hemorrhage in one, grade 3 cystitis in one, and grade 4 cystitis in one.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results demonstrated that definitive RT with HDR-ICBT is effective for invasive carcinoma of the vagina, with acceptable toxicity.

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