Background and Aims: Management of bulky cervical tumours is controversial. We describe the addition of high dose rate brachytherapy with concomitant chemotherapy to an attenuated protocol of radiation followed by simple hysterectomy in the management of bulky cervical tumours.
Methods: Between January, 2003 and December, 2006, 23 patients diagnosed with bulky cervical tumours underwent a fixed chemo-radiation protocol followed by simple hysterectomy. Fractionated external beam pelvic radiation (4500 cGy) followed by two high-dose rate applications of brachytherapy (700 cGy – prescription dose to point A) was given with weekly concomitant cisplatin (35 mg/m2). Patients then underwent simple hysterectomy. Clinical information was prospectively collected and patient charts were then further reviewed.
Results: Twenty patients had stage IB2 and three bulky IIA. Median tumour size was 5 cm. Sixteen patients (70%) achieved a clinical complete and seven (30%) a clinical partial response. All patients had a total abdominal hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (TAH BSO). On final pathology, 12 patients (52%) had a pathological complete response, whereas 11 patients (48%) had residual carcinoma in the cervix. Surgical margins were not involved. With a median follow-up time of 20 months (range 10–50 months), four patients (17.4%), all from the pathological partial response group, have suffered a pelvic recurrence, within 6 months from therapy; nineteen patients (82.6%) remain free of disease.
Conclusions: This attenuated protocol of chemo-radiation using HDR brachytherapy followed by simple hysterectomy is a viable option in the treatment of bulky cervical carcinomas. The rate of residual cervical disease after chemo-radiation is substantial, but simple hysterectomy achieved negative surgical margins in all cases.