Strahlenther Onkol. 2020 Sep 24. doi: 10.1007/s00066-020-01685-x. Online ahead of print.
BACKGROUND: Consolidation brachytherapy is a critical treatment component for cervical cancer patients undergoing primary chemoradiation. Some patients are unsuitable for brachytherapy for a variety of reasons. The use of alternatives (LINAC-based stereotactic radiosurgery or external beam boosts) compromise oncologic results in cervical cancer patients. Thus, we evaluated the value of brachytherapy-like doses prescriptions using robotic radiosurgery (CyberKnife®, CR, Acuuray, Sunnyvale, CA, USA).
METHODS: From 06/2011 to 06/2015, 31 patients (median age 53 years; range 30-77 years) with histologically proven FIGO stages IB-IVB cervical cancer underwent primary chemoradiation. All patients were either not suitable for intracervical brachytherapy for a variety of reasons or refused the brachytherapy. To achieve an adequate dose within the tumor, a CK boost was applied after fiducial implantation. In 29 patients, a dose of either five times 6 Gy or five times 5 Gy was prescribed to the target volume. Two patients received three times 5 Gy. The target dose was prescribed to the 70% isodose. Treatment toxicity was documented once weekly regarding vaginal mucositis, bladder, and bowel irritation according to CTCAE v. 4.03. If possible 3 months after completion of treatment intracervical curettage was performed to exclude residual tumor and the patients were followed up clinically. Sparing of organs at risk (OAR) and outcome in terms of local control (LC), overall survival (OS), and progression-free survival (PFS) were assessed.
RESULTS: Of the 31 patients, 30 have completed CK boost therapy. The median follow-up time was 40 months (range 5-84 months). General treatment tolerability was good. Except for 1 patient, who had diarrhea grade 3, no treatment related side effects above grade 2 were reported. Sparing of OAR was excellent. The 1‑, 3‑, and 5‑year OS rates were 89, 60, and 57% respectively across all stages. Seven patients showed progression (28%), only two of them with local relapse (8%), resulting in an LC rate of 92% after 3 and 5 years. Mean PFS was 41 months (range 2-84 months). Patients with local recurrence had PFS of 5 and 8 months. Five patients developed distant metastases. Fifteen patients (48%) underwent intracervical curettage 3 months after completion of treatment of which 14 (93%) had complete pathologic response.
CONCLUSION: Brachytherapy remains the standard of care for patients diagnosed with cervical cancer and indication for primary chemoradiation. In terms of local control, CyberKnife®-based boost concepts provide excellent local control. It can be an alternative for patients who cannot receive adequate brachytherapy. Distant relapse still remains a challenge in this context.