Background: Radiotherapy plus hyperthermia was compared to radiotherapy alone in the Dutch Deep Hyperthermia Trial, in patients with advanced bladder, cervical, and rectal tumours. The overall results, published elsewhere, demonstrate that addition of hyperthermia to radiotherapy improves both pelvic control and overall survival rates. The therapeutic gain appeared especially worthwhile in locally advanced cervical tumours. Here, the results in patients with cervical cancer are summarized and discussed, and further details provided.
Methods: From 1990-1996, 114 patients with cervical cancer were entered into this prospective randomized trial. RT was applied to a median total dose of 68 Gy. HT was given once weekly. The median follow-up time was 43 months. All randomized patients were included in the statistical analysis, which was done by intention to treat. The primary end points of the trial were complete response (CR) and duration of pelvic control (PC), secondary end points were overall survival (OS) and toxicity. Besides, an economic evaluation was performed.
Results: CR rates were 57% following RT and 83% following RT + HT(p = 0.003). The difference in PC was maintained during follow-up, with 3-year LC rates of 41% following RT and 61% following RT + HT. The 3-year OS rates were 27% and 51% following RT and RT + HT, respectively (p = 0.009). When the patients were divided into two subgroups by whether or not the planned RT was completed, a beneficial effect of hyperthermia was observed in both subgroups. Radiation toxicity was not enhanced by HT. Additional hyperthermia proved to be cost-effective, with maximum discounted cost-per-life-year gained of about Euro 4000.
Conclusion: Hyperthermia in addition to standard radiotherapy of locally advanced cervical tumours results in therapeutic gain and is cost-effective.