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2 landmark studies report on success of using image-guided brachytherapy to treat cervical cancer
Date:4/20/2013

tudy on MRI-guided brachytherapy in locally advanced cervical cancer) at the meeting today (Saturday).

"To date, the EMBRACE study has followed 523 patients in 19 centres for an average of 14 months to establish a benchmark for clinical outcome with regard to control of the tumour's growth, patient survival, adverse effects of treatment and quality of life," said Ms Kirchheiner, who is a PhD student in the Department of Radiotherapy at the Medical University Vienna (Austria). [1]

Patients with cervical cancer that had started to spread from the original site to nearby tissues and lymph nodes (locally advanced cancer) underwent external beam radiotherapy, chemotherapy and MRI-guided brachytherapy. The vagina and the effects of the treatment on it (morbidity) were assessed at the start of treatment, every three months afterwards for the first year, once every six months in the second and third year, and annually thereafter. MRI was used to assess the amount of dose being delivered to the upper part of the vaginal wall.

"Our results show that severe vaginal side-effects are rare," said Ms Kirchheiner. "The majority of patients are likely to experience mild to moderate (grade 1 or 2) vaginal morbidity in the first two years after the end of treatment. The most frequently reported symptom is vaginal shortening and narrowing in the upper vagina. We performed a dose response analysis to measure the relationship between the amount of dose delivered to the upper vaginal wall and the probability of vaginal morbidity and found that with increasing dose to this region, the probability for moderate vaginal morbidity increases significantly."

This is the first time that the occurrence of mild and moderate side-effects on the vagina have been systematically recorded and related to the amount of radiation dose in this way. "This is important for patients because studies on their quality of life have shown that mild and moderate vaginal symptoms
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Contact: Emma Mason
wordmason@mac.com
European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology (ESTRO)
Source:Eurekalert

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