Objective: To develop a consensus-based guideline as well as an atlas defining pelvic nodal clinical target volumes in external beam radiotherapy for uterine cervical cancer.
Methods: A working subgroup to establish the consensus-based guideline on clinical target volumes for uterine cervical cancer was formulated by the Radiation Therapy Study Group of the Japan Clinical Oncology Group in July 2008. The working subgroup consisted of seven radiation oncologists. The process resulting in the consensus included a comparison of contouring on CT images among the members, reviewing of published textbooks and the relevant literature and a distribution analysis of metastatic nodes on computed tomography/magnetic resonance imaging of actual patients.
Results: The working subgroup defined the pelvic nodal clinical target volumes for cervical cancer and developed an associated atlas. As a basic criterion, the lymph node clinical target volume was defined as the area encompassed by a 7 mm margin around the applicable pelvic vessels. Modifications were made in each nodal area to cover adjacent adipose tissues at risk of microscopic nodal metastases. Although the bones and muscles were excluded, the bowel was not routinely excluded in the definition. Each of the following pelvic node regions was defined: common iliac, external iliac, internal iliac, obturator and presacral. Anatomical structures bordering each lymph node region were defined for six directions; anterior, posterior, lateral, medial, cranial and caudal. Drafts of the definition and the atlas were reviewed by members of the JCOG Gynecologic Cancer Study Group (GCSG).
Conclusions: We developed a consensus-based guideline defining the pelvic node clinical target volumes that included an atlas. The guideline will be continuously updated to reflect the ongoing changes in the field.