Long-Term Outcomes of Cervical Cancer Patients Treated With Definitive Chemoradiation Following a Complete Metabolic Response

Clin Oncol (R Coll Radiol). 2021 May;33(5):300-306. doi: 10.1016/j.clon.2021.01.010. Epub 2021 Feb 11.


Aims: A complete metabolic response (CMR) on early post-treatment 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) is a positive prognostic factor for cervical cancer patients treated with definitive chemoradiation, but long-term outcomes of this group of patients are unknown. Patterns of failure and risk subgroups are identified.

Materials and methods: Patients who received curative-intent chemoradiation from 1998 to 2018 for International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) stage IB1-IVA cervical cancer and had a CMR on post-treatment FDG-PET within 5 months of treatment completion were included. Cox proportional hazards models determined factors associated with locoregional and distant failure. Kaplan-Meier estimates of freedom from any recurrence (FFR) of patient subgroups were compared with Log-rank tests.

Results: There were 402 patients with a CMR after chemoradiation on FDG-PET. Initial T stage was T1 (38%)/T2 (40%)/T3 (20%)/T4 (2%); initial FDG-avid nodal status was no nodes (50%)/pelvic lymph nodes (40%)/pelvic and para-aortic lymph nodes (10%). After a median follow-up of 6 years, 109 (27%) recurred. The pattern of recurrence was locoregional (27%), distant (61%) or both (12%). No factors were associated with locoregional failure. Distant recurrence was more likely in patients with T3-4 lesions (hazard ratio = 2.4, 95% confidence interval 1.5-3.8) and involvement of pelvic (hazard ratio = 1.6, 95% confidence interval 1.0-2.7) or para-aortic lymph nodes (hazard ratio = 2.7, 95% confidence interval 1.4-5.0) at diagnosis. The 5-year FFR rates for T1-2 patients with no nodes, pelvic nodes alone or para-aortic nodes at diagnosis were 85, 76 and 62%, respectively (P = 0.04, none versus para-aortic nodes). The 5-year FFR for T3-4 patients with no nodes, pelvic nodes alone or para-aortic nodes at diagnosis were 68, 56 and 25%, respectively (P = 0.09, none versus para-aortic nodes).

Conclusions: T3-4 tumours and para-aortic nodal involvement at diagnosis are poor prognostic factors, even after a CMR following chemoradiation.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02635360.

Keywords: Cervical cancer; FDG-PET; chemoradiation; complete metabolic response; prognosis; recurrence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02635360