Radiotherapeutic management of cervical carcinoma that complicates pregnancy

Anil K. Sood, Joel I. Sorosky, Nina Mayr, Sharon Krogman, Barrie Anderson, Richard E. Buller, David H. Hussey

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76 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND. Data regarding radiation therapy for pregnant patients with cervical carcinoma are limited. The goal of this study was to assess the effects of pregnancy on tumor control, survival, and morbidity associated with radiation therapy administered to pregnant patients. METHODS. The authors performed a retrospective case-control analysis of 26 women with cervical carcinoma who were diagnosed during pregnancy and treated primarily with radiation therapy. These cases were matched with 26 controls based on age, histology, stage, treatment, and year of treatment. RESULTS. Patients were treated with external beam radiation (mean dose, 46.7 gray [Gy]) and intracavitary radiation (mean dose, 56.5 Gy to Point A). Two patients with Stage IA2 squamous cell carcinoma treated in the third trimester had a planned delay in treatment of 3 weeks, and both infants had an uncomplicated neonatal course. Seven pregnant patients (2 Stage IB1, 5 Stage IB2) underwent radiation after radical hysterectomy was aborted due to positive regional lymph nodes. Three patients diagnosed during the first trimester were treated with radiation with the fetus in situ, and all had spontaneous abortions 20- 24 days after the start of radiation (mean dose, 34 Gy). In all these cases, radiation was interrupted for only 3 days or less. There were no statistically significant differences in recurrence rates or survival between the pregnant group and the controls. Short term toxicity was comparable in pregnant and nonpregnant patients and easily controlled. Long term complications were more common in controls (12% in pregnant patients, 27% in controls), but this difference was not statistically significant. Most complications were likely related to radiation techniques (particularly the predominance of cobalt-60). CONCLUSIONS. Planned delay in treatment should be offered to pregnant patients with early stage squamous cell carcinoma in the late second and early third trimester. Patients diagnosed in the first or second trimester who are not good candidates for planned delay in treatment should be given radiation therapy immediately. It may be necessary to reconsider planned radical hysterectomy for pregnant women with Stage IB2 disease due to the high rate of lymph node positivity found on exploration. For patients with advanced disease, radiation therapy appears to be a safe and effective modality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1073-1078
Number of pages6
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 15 1997

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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