The standard of care now is chemoradiation with cisplatin alone in stage IIA cervical cancer. The value of adding cisplatin or cisplatin-based chemotherapy to radiation for treatment of locally advanced cervical cancer is strongly supported by randomized studies and meta-analyses. Over the last 20 years, a number of trials testing concurrent chemoradiation were performed in an attempt to improve treatment results. Despite this, in 1996 a National Institutes of Health Consensus Statement on cervical cancer stated that there was no evidence that hydroxyurea or any other concomitant chemotherapeutic agent should be added to pelvic irradiation and incorporated into standard practice. It was not until 1999 that five randomized studies including nearly 2,000 patients were published, demonstrating that survival rate with concomitant chemotherapy (RT/CT) based on cisplatin was superior than that obtained with radiation alone. Afterwards, a meta-analysis based on 19 trials published and two unpublished) including 4,580 patients corroborated these findings, confirming that chemoradiation offers an absolute survival benefit of 12% at 5 years. Thus, cisplatin-based chemoradiation was largely accepted as the standard of care for patients with cervical cancer whose treatment required radiation, except for patients with co-morbidities who are radiated for stage IB1 or less. An update of the aforementioned meta-analysis that includes 24 trials (21 published, three unpublished) and 4,921 patients strongly suggests that chemoradiation improves overall survival and progression-free survival, whether or not platinum was used, with absolute benefits of 10 and 13%, respectively. There was, however, statistical heterogeneity for these outcomes. There was some evidence that the effect was greater in trials including a high proportion of stage I and II patients. Chemoradiation also showed significant benefit for local recurrence and the suggestion of a benefit for distant recurrence. Acute hematological and gastrointestinal toxicity was significantly higher in the concomitant chemoradiation group. Treatment-related deaths were rare, but late effects of treatment were not well-reported; thus, the impact of chemoradiation.
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Rose PG, Bundy BN, Watkins EB, Thigpen JT, Deppe G, Maiman MA, Clarke-Pearson DL, Insalacos S: Concurrent cisplatin-based chemoradiation improves progression-free survival in advanced cervical cancer: results of a randomized Gynecologic Oncology Group study. New Engl J Med 1999, 340:1144-1153.
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