Purpose: The primary objective was to determine if vaginal cuff brachytherapy and chemotherapy (VCB/C) increases recurrence-free survival (RFS) compared with pelvic radiation therapy (RT) in high-intermediate and high-risk early-stage endometrial carcinoma.
Patients and methods: A randomized phase III trial was performed in eligible patients with endometrial cancer. Eligible patients had International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (2009) stage I endometrioid histology with Gynecologic Oncology Group protocol 33-based high-intermediate-risk criteria, stage II disease, or stage I to II serous or clear cell tumors. Treatment was randomly assigned between RT (45 to 50.4 Gy over 5 weeks) or VCB followed by intravenous paclitaxel 175 mg/m2 (3 hours) plus carboplatin (area under the curve, 6) every 21 days for three cycles.
Results: The median age of the 601 patients was 63 years, and 74% had stage I disease. Histologies included endometrioid (71%), serous (15%), and clear cell (5%). With a median follow-up of 53 months, the 60-month RFS was 0.76 (95% CI, 0.70 to 0.81) for RT and 0.76 (95% CI, 0.70 to 0.81) for VCB/C (hazard ratio, 0.92; 90% confidence limit, 0.69 to 1.23). The 60-month overall survival was 0.87 (95% CI, 0.83 to 0.91) for RT and 0.85 (95% CI, 0.81 to 0.90) for VCB/C (hazard ratio, 1.04; 90% confidence limit, 0.71 to 1.52). Vaginal and distant recurrence rates were similar between arms. Pelvic or para-aortic nodal recurrences were more common with VCB/C (9% v 4%). There was no heterogeneity of treatment effect with respect to RFS or overall survival among clinical or pathologic variables evaluated.
Conclusion: Superiority of VCB/C compared with pelvic RT was not demonstrated. Acute toxicity was greater with VCB/C; late toxicity was similar. Pelvic RT alone remains an effective, well-tolerated, and appropriate adjuvant treatment in high-risk early-stage endometrial carcinomas of all histologies.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00807768.