Purpose: To evaluate the role of concurrent cisplatin plus radiotherapy in the treatment of cervical cancer.
Methods: A systematic review of randomized trials of cisplatin administered concurrently with external beam radiotherapy versus radiotherapy without cisplatin for cervical cancer was combined with a meta-analysis of results abstracted from published reports of the trials.
Results: Pooled survival rates from eight randomized trials that evaluated the role of cisplatin, alone or in combination with other chemotherapy agents, administered concurrently with external beam radiotherapy to patients with cervical cancer demonstrated a statistically significant effect in favour of cisplatin-based chemotherapy plus radiotherapy compared with radiotherapy without cisplatin (relative risk [RR] of death, 0.74; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.64 to 0.86). The pooled RR of death among the six trials that enrolled only women with locally advanced cervical cancer was 0.78 (95% CI, 0.67 to 0.90). The pooled relative risk for the two trials in high-risk early-stage disease also demonstrated a statistically significant benefit for the addition of cisplatin-based chemotherapy to radiotherapy (RR=0.56; 95% CI, 0.41 to 0.77).
Conclusion: This meta-analysis confirms that treatment with concurrent cisplatin-based chemotherapy plus radiotherapy improves overall survival over various controls in women with locally advanced cervical cancer, large stage IB tumours (prior to surgery) and high-risk early-stage disease (following surgery). The variation in control treatments and the quality of their delivery among the randomized trials makes interpretation difficult. Nonetheless, the meta-analysis supports the use of concurrent cisplatin with radical radiotherapy in the treatment of cervical cancer.