Chemoradiation versus radiation alone in stage IIIB cervical cancer patients with or without human immunodeficiency virus

Int J Gynecol Cancer. 2021 Sep;31(9):1220-1227. doi: 10.1136/ijgc-2021-002601. Epub 2021 Jul 26.


Objective: Cervical cancer remains the most common cancer among women in sub-Saharan Africa and is also a leading cause of cancer related deaths among these women. The benefit of chemoradiation in comparison with radiation alone for patients with stage IIIB disease has not been evaluated prospectively in women living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). We assessed the survival of chemoradiation versus radiation alone among stage IIIB cervical cancer patients based on HIV status.

Methods: Between February 2013 and June 2018, patients with International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) 2009 stage IIIB cervical cancer with or without HIV and treated with chemoradiation or radiation alone, were prospectively enrolled in an observational cohort study. Overall survival was evaluated using the Kaplan-Meier method. Cox proportional hazards modeling was used to analyze associations with survival.

Results: Among 187 patients, 63% (n=118) of women had co-infection with HIV, and 48% (n=69) received chemoradiation. Regardless of HIV status, patients who received chemoradiation had improved 2 year overall survival compared with those receiving radiation alone (59% vs 41%, p<0.01), even among women living with HIV (60% vs 38%, p=0.02). On multivariable Cox regression analysis, including all patients regardless of HIV status, 2 year overall survival was associated with receipt of chemoradiation (hazard ratio (HR) 0.63, p=0.04) and total radiation dose ≥80 Gy (HR 0.57, p=0.02). Among patients who received an adequate radiation dose of ≥80 Gy, adjusted overall survival rates were similar between chemoradiation versus radiation alone groups (HR 1.07; p=0.90). However, patients who received an inadequate radiation dose of <80 Gy, adjusted survival was significantly higher in chemoradiation versus radiation alone group (HR 0.45, p=0.01).

Conclusions: Addition of chemotherapy to standard radiation improved overall survival, regardless of HIV status, and is even more essential in women who cannot receive full doses of radiation.

Keywords: cervical cancer; radiation oncology; uterine cervical neoplasms.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Chemoradiotherapy / methods*
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy*
  • HIV Infections / radiotherapy*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Survival Analysis
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / mortality