Patterns of practice survey for brachytherapy for cervix cancer in Australia and New Zealand

J Med Imaging Radiat Oncol. 2017 Oct;61(5):674-681. doi: 10.1111/1754-9485.12614. Epub 2017 May 4.


Introduction: The purpose of this survey was to explore the current patterns of practice for brachytherapy in cervix cancer in Australia and New Zealand. The survey was also intended to explore clinician attitudes towards image-guided adaptive brachytherapy (IGABT) and identify barriers to the implementation of IGABT.

Methods: Electronic surveys were sent to all radiotherapy centres in Australia and New Zealand under collaboration with Australia New Zealand Gynaecology and Oncology Group (ANZGOG), in order to identify patterns of radiotherapy practice. The survey was sent out in December 2013, with a reminder in February 2014.

Results: Of the 75 radiotherapy centres in Australia and New Zealand, 23 centres replied (31% response rate). Twenty-two responding departments treat cervix cancer with external beam radiation (EBRT) (22/23; 96%). Fourteen responses were from departments that also use intracavitary brachytherapy (14/22; 64%). The remaining eight departments who do not offer intracavitary brachytherapy referred their patients on to other centres for brachytherapy. Ultrasound was used by 86% for applicator guidance. CT and MRI were used by 79%, and 50% respectively for planning. Optimisation was based on organs at risk (93%) and target volumes (64%).

Conclusions: Brachytherapy remains an integral component of definitive treatment for cervix cancer in Australia and New Zealand. There was increased use of soft tissue imaging modalities with emphasis on verification; high rates of volumetric planning, and adherence to a defined overall treatment period. Brachytherapy was not substituted with other EBRT modalities. Despite this, there remain barriers to implementation of image-guided brachytherapy.

Keywords: brachytherapy; cervix cancer; image guidance; patterns of practice.

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Brachytherapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • New Zealand
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / radiotherapy*