Chemotherapy of advanced and recurrent cervical carcinoma

Semin Surg Oncol. 1999 Apr-May;16(3):247-50. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1098-2388(199904/05)16:3<247::aid-ssu10>;2-4.


Chemotherapy is used primarily to treat advanced or recurrent cervical cancer. There are three major applications: primary therapy, as a radiation sensitizer, and neoadjuvant therapy. Primary chemotherapy is employed in advanced and disseminated cervical carcinoma (Stage VB). The four best single drugs with moderate activity against cervical cancer are: cisplatin, ifosfamide, dibromodulcitol (mitolactol), and Adriamycin (doxorubicin). Cisplatin and ifosfamide appear to be the best combination therapy: they provide an objective response rate of 33%. However, because the overall survival was not significantly improved with combination therapy, single-agent therapy with one of the above active drugs is acceptable. For stages IIB, III and IVA, the primary therapy is still radiation. Concomitant chemotherapy with hydroxyurea or a combination of cisplatin and 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) have been shown to enhance radiation response in several randomized trials. Hydroxyurea is the preferred radiation sensitizer because it offers less toxicity, ease of administration, and equivalent results. Chemotherapy in neoadjuvant setting produces promising results. Various cisplatin combinations of mitomycin C, 5-FU, vincristine, and bleomycin have been employed to shrink locally advanced cervical cancer and permit safe, radical excision. Early results with these combinations in small trials are encouraging but further studies are needed to fully evaluate their potential.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local / radiotherapy
  • Radiation-Sensitizing Agents / therapeutic use
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / radiotherapy


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Radiation-Sensitizing Agents