Radiotherapy alone for carcinoma of the vagina: the importance of overall treatment time.
PURPOSE: Review treatment results, complications, and the importance of overall treatment time for carcinoma of the vagina treated with radiotherapy alone. METHODS AND MATERIALS: Between October 1964 and October 1990, 65 patients with histologically confirmed carcinoma of the vagina received definitive radiotherapy at the University of Florida. All patients had a minimum 2-year follow-up. Most patients were treated with a combination of external-beam radiotherapy and brachytherapy. The probability of pelvic control, cause-specific survival, and complications was calculated and multivariate analyses were performed. The log-rank test was used to determine significance levels between the curves. RESULTS: The 5-year cause-specific survival rates were, Stage 0 (six patients), 100%; Stage I (17 patients), 94%; Stage IIA (six patients), 80%; Stage IIB (ten patients), 39%; Stage III (twn patients), 79%; and Stage IVA (six patients), 62%. The pelvic control rates at 5 years were: Stage 0, 100%; Stage I, 87%; Stage IIA, 88%; Stage IIB, 68%; Stage III, 80%; and Stage IVA, 67%. The parameters of stage, patient age, total dose to primary site, and overall treatment time were evaluated in a multivariate analysis. The single most important predictor of pelvic control was overall treatment time. If the entire course of radiotherapy (external beam + implant) was completed within 9 weeks (63 days), the pelvic control rate was 97%. The pelvic control rate was only 54% if treatment time extended beyond 9 weeks (p = .0003). The rate of severe complications was 12%, and the incidence increased with increasing total primary dose. CONCLUSION: Radiotherapy alone can cure a significant proportion of patients with carcinoma of the vagina. Treatment should be completed without significant interruption, preferably within 9 weeks.
Lee, WR; Marcus, RB; Sombeck, MD; Mendenhall, WM; Morgan, LS; Freeman, DE; Million, RR
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