Does Personalized Brachytherapy Help in Cervical Cancer Treatment
“This analysis showed that the precise adaptation of the dose according to the tumor volume defined by magnetic resonance imaging is relevant for tumor control. Hypothetical assumptions could thus be clinically confirmed in an international group of more than 1,300 patients,” describe the study leaders Maximilian Schmid and Christian Kirisits from the Department of Radiation Oncology the results that have already been published.
On this basis, the study now being published was able to identify risk factors from the data from the Embrace-I study and correlate them with the dose. “This is the first time we have seen that different brachytherapy doses are required for individual parameters such as different histology¡¦s or different tumor sizes,” explained study leader Maximilian Schmid. In a planned follow-up study, a risk-adapted customized treatment is now being investigated, where a lower dose is administered in a low-risk situation and is thus presumably safer, while a higher dose is administered in a high-risk situation in order to achieve reliable long-term tumor clearance. “In the future, the new findings will allow us to offer patients customized targeted therapy,” said Schmid.
This study revealed another significant result for patients. In addition to the 98% complete remission rate and the high local tumor control rate of the uterus – 92% after 5 years – as major findings of the Embrace-I study, 81 (out of 1318) patients still had residual tumor 3 months after the therapy ended. In three quarters (60) of these 81 patients, the tumor disappeared after another 3 to 6 months without further therapy. Only in 21 patients did the tumor require further treatment after this period.
“Previously, it was common to perform surgery after three months at the latest if tumor remained. Obviously, this is not necessary in a large proportion of patients. We can conclude from this study that a tumor that is still visible 3 months after the end of therapy can also only be observed by means of gynecological examination and magnetic resonance imaging if it has already shrunk,” the study leaders concluded. The long-term outcome was also identical to the group that was previously tumor-free. The patients would thus be spared major surgery.
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