Purpose: To develop recommendations for use of high-dose-rate (HDR) brachytherapy in patients with endometrial cancer.
Methods: A panel of members of the American Brachytherapy Society (ABS) performed a literature review, supplemented their clinical experience, and formulated recommendations for endometrial HDR brachytherapy.
Results: The ABS endorses the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines for indications for radiation therapy for patients with endometrial cancer and the guidelines on HDR quality assurance of the American Association on Physicists in Medicine (AAPM). The ABS made specific recommendations for HDR applicator selection, insertion techniques, target volume definition, dose fractionation, and specifications for postoperative adjuvant vaginal cuff therapy, for vaginal recurrences, and for medically inoperable primary endometrial cancer patients. The ABS recommends that applicator selection should be based on patient and target volume geometry. The dose prescription point should be clearly specified. The treatment plan should be optimized to conform to the target volume whenever possible while recognizing the limitations of computer optimization. Suggested doses were tabulated for treatment with HDR alone, and in combination with external beam radiation therapy (EBRT), when applicable. For intravaginal brachytherapy, the largest diameter applicator should be selected to ensure close mucosal apposition. Doses should be reported both at the vaginal surface and at 0.5-cm depth irrespective of the dose prescription point. For vaginal recurrences, intracavitary brachytherapy should be restricted to patients with nonbulky (< 0.5-cm thick) disease. Patients with bulky (> 0.5-cm thick) recurrences should be treated with interstitial techniques. For medically inoperable patients, an appropriate applicator that will allow adequate irradiation of the entire uterus should be selected.
Conclusion: Recommendations are made for HDR brachytherapy for endometrial cancer. Practitioners and cooperative groups are encouraged to use these recommendations to formulate their treatment and dose reporting policies. This will lead to meaningful comparisons of reports from different institutions and lead to advances and appropriate use of HDR.