Concurrent cisplatin-based radiotherapy and chemotherapy for locally advanced cervical cancer

N Engl J Med. 1999 Apr 15;340(15):1144-53. doi: 10.1056/NEJM199904153401502.


Background and methods: On behalf of the Gynecologic Oncology Group, we performed a randomized trial of radiotherapy in combination with three concurrent chemotherapy regimens -- cisplatin alone; cisplatin, fluorouracil, and hydroxyurea; and hydroxyurea alone -- in patients with locally advanced cervical cancer. Women with primary untreated invasive squamous-cell carcinoma, adenosquamous carcinoma, or adenocarcinoma of the cervix of stage IIB, III, or IVA, without involvement of the para-aortic lymph nodes, were enrolled. The patients had to have a leukocyte count of at least 3000 per cubic millimeter, a platelet count of at least 100,000 per cubic millimeter, a serum creatinine level no higher than 2 mg per deciliter (177 micromol per liter), and adequate hepatic function. All patients received external-beam radiotherapy according to a strict protocol. Patients were randomly assigned to receive one of three chemotherapy regimens: 40 mg of cisplatin per square meter of body-surface area per week for six weeks (group 1); 50 mg of cisplatin per square meter on days 1 and 29, followed by 4 g of fluorouracil per square meter given as a 96-hour infusion on days 1 and 29, and 2 g of oral hydroxyurea per square meter twice weekly for six weeks (group 2); or 3 g of oral hydroxyurea per square meter twice weekly for six weeks (group 3).

Results: The analysis included 526 women. The median duration of follow-up was 35 months. Both groups that received cisplatin had a higher rate of progression-free survival than the group that received hydroxyurea alone (P<0.001 for both comparisons). The relative risks of progression of disease or death were 0.57 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.42 to 0.78) in group 1 and 0.55 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.40 to 0.75) in group 2, as compared with group 3. The overall survival rate was significantly higher in groups 1 and 2 than in group 3, with relative risks of death of 0.61 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.44 to 0.85) and 0.58 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.41 to 0.81), respectively.

Conclusions: Regimens of radiotherapy and chemotherapy that contain cisplatin improve the rates of survival and progression-free survival among women with locally advanced cervical cancer.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Brachytherapy
  • Carcinoma / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma / pathology
  • Carcinoma / radiotherapy*
  • Cisplatin / therapeutic use*
  • Combined Modality Therapy / adverse effects
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Fluorouracil / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Hydroxyurea / therapeutic use
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Survival Analysis
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / pathology
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / radiotherapy*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Cisplatin
  • Fluorouracil
  • Hydroxyurea