American Brachytherapy Task Group Report: Adjuvant vaginal brachytherapy for early-stage endometrial cancer: A comprehensive review

Brachytherapy. 2017 Jan-Feb;16(1):95-108. doi: 10.1016/j.brachy.2016.04.005. Epub 2016 May 31.


This article aims to review the risk stratification of endometrial cancer, treatment rationale, outcomes, treatment planning, and treatment recommendations of vaginal brachytherapy (VBT) in the postoperative management of endometrial cancer patients. The authors performed a thorough review of the literature and reference pertinent articles pertaining to the aims of this review. Adjuvant VBT for early-stage endometrial cancer patients results in very low rates of vaginal recurrence (0-3.1%) with low rates of late toxicity which are primarily vaginal in nature. Post-Operative Radiation Therapy in Endometrial Cancer 2 (PORTEC-2) supports that VBT results in noninferior rates of vaginal recurrence compared to external beam radiotherapy for the treatment of high-intermediate risk patients. VBT as a boost after external beam radiotherapy, in combination with chemotherapy, and for high-risk histologies have shown excellent results as well though randomized data do not exist supporting VBT boost. There are many different applicators, dose-fractionation schedules, and treatment planning techniques which all result in favorable clinical outcomes and low rates of toxicity. Recommendations have been published by the American Brachytherapy Society and the American Society of Radiation Oncology to help guide practitioners in the use of VBT. Data support that patients and physicians prefer joint decision making regarding the use of VBT, and patients often desire additional treatment for a marginal benefit in risk of recurrence. Discussions regarding adjuvant therapy for endometrial cancer are best performed in a multidisciplinary setting, and patients should be counseled properly regarding the risks and benefits of adjuvant therapy.

Keywords: Endometrial cancer; Gynecologic brachytherapy; Vaginal brachytherapy; Vaginal cuff; Vaginal cuff brachytherapy; Vaginal cylinder.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma, Clear Cell / pathology
  • Adenocarcinoma, Clear Cell / radiotherapy*
  • Advisory Committees
  • Brachytherapy / methods*
  • Carcinoma, Endometrioid / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Endometrioid / radiotherapy*
  • Carcinosarcoma / pathology
  • Carcinosarcoma / radiotherapy*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / pathology
  • Endometrial Neoplasms / radiotherapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hysterectomy*
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local*
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Neoplasms, Cystic, Mucinous, and Serous / pathology
  • Neoplasms, Cystic, Mucinous, and Serous / radiotherapy*
  • Radiotherapy, Adjuvant / methods
  • Societies, Medical
  • United States
  • Vagina*