Objective: To evaluate the efficacy of neoadjuvant chemotherapy, followed by radiotherapy and concurrent hyperthermia (triple therapy) in patients with advanced-stage cervical cancer.
Methods: We selected 43 patients from our hyperthermia database, who were treated from 1996 to 2010 with triple therapy for large primary tumours (>6 cm) or para-aortic lymph node metastases. All patients received platinum-based chemotherapy followed by full-dose radiotherapy, brachytherapy and five hyperthermia treatments. The response was evaluated by gynaecological examination and a CT-scan. Time-to-event variables were estimated using the Kaplan Meier method and the Cox regression method.
Results: The mean age of the patients was 50.4 years (range 29-80). The median tumour size was 5.6 cm at diagnosis (range 2.6-8.2), positive lymph nodes were present in 90.7%. A total of 67% of the patients completed all six planned courses of chemotherapy. After completion of neoadjuvant chemotherapy, 83.7% of patients achieved a complete or partial response. At the end of treatment, the complete response rate was 81.4% (95%CI 69.2-93.5). Grade 2, 3 and 4 acute vascular toxicity occurred in 17 patients. The incidence of grade 3-4 haematological toxicity did not exceed 10% and no neutropenic fever occurred. For grade 1-2 renal toxicity, a switch to carboplatin was made (n = 6). No acute grade 3-4 renal toxicity was observed. No treatment-related deaths were recorded. The median follow-up time was 29.8 months (range 4.1-124.8). Overall survival rate at 12 months was 79% (95%CI 57.4-92.3).
Conclusion: The triple therapy seems feasible and effective in the treatment of advanced-stage, high-risk cervical cancer. However, chemotherapy-induced vascular toxicity occurred frequently, which may warrant the use of prophylactic anticoagulants. We recommend a phase II trial for prospective confirmation for comparison with standard chemoradiation and the use of anticoagulants.