Purpose: To determine the effect of concurrent chemoradiotherapy on the outcome of invasive cervical carcinoma patients with disease recurrence isolated to the paraaortic lymph nodes.
Methods and materials: Between 1987 and 2003, 816 cervical carcinoma patients received radiotherapy at Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology. Of these 816 patients, 14 had clinically or radiographically detected isolated paraaortic lymph node metastases. Before 1998, imaging was done if warranted by the presence of one or more classic findings, including lower extremity edema, sciatic pain, and hydronephrosis. After 1998, radiographic imaging was a routine part of follow-up for all patients. The median age at recurrence was 42.5 years (range, 32-54 years). Follow-up for all living patients was current at last follow-up. Full-dose radiotherapy equaled at least 45 Gy.
Results: All 7 patients with a classic finding of recurrence, none of whom had been treated to at least 45 Gy and concurrent chemotherapy, were dead of disease within 1.5 years. The 7 patients without a classic finding of recurrence, all of whom had been treated with salvage full-dose concurrent chemoradiotherapy, had a 5-year overall survival rate of 100% (p <0.01).
Conclusion: Salvage concurrent full-dose chemoradiotherapy afforded excellent survival of patients who did not have classic findings but had disease recurrence exclusively in the paraaortic lymph nodes. The effectiveness of salvage concurrent full-dose chemoradiotherapy in patients with symptomatic disease recurrence remains unclear. However, chemotherapy or radiotherapy alone produced dismal survival in patients with classic findings of recurrence.