Brachytherapy versus radical hysterectomy after external beam chemoradiation with gemcitabine plus cisplatin: a randomized, phase III study in IB2–IIB cervical cancer patients

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The aim of the present study was to demonstrate that radical hysterectomy (RH) leads to improved survival outcomes in FIGO stage IB2–IIB cervical cancer when compared with standard brachytherapy (BCT) after identical external beam chemoradiation (EBRT-CT).

Patients and methods

EBRT-CT treatment consisted of six courses of cisplatin at 40 mg/m2 and gemcitabine at 125 mg/m2 per week concurrent with 50.4 Gy of radiation. In the BCT arm, EBRT-CT was followed by BCT to reach a point A dose of 85 Gy, whereas in the experimental arm, a type III RH with bilateral pelvic lymph node dissection and para-aortic lymph node sampling (RH) was carried out within 4–6 weeks after EBRT-CT.


Between May 2004 and June 2009, 211 patients were enrolled (BCT, 100 and RH, 111). At a median follow-up time of 36 months (3–80), progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) rates were similar in both the arms. PFS rates were 74.8% and 71.7% in the BCT and RH arms [HR 0.6516 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.3504–1.2116)], P = 0.186. OS rates were 76.3% in the BCT versus 74.5% in the surgical arm [HR 0.6981 (95% CI 0.3106–1.3439)], P = 0.236. No differences were observed in the pattern of local and systemic failures.


This study failed to demonstrate that RH after EBRT-CT is superior to standard BCT.

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