Prediction of radiotherapy response of cervical carcinoma through measurement of proliferation rate

Br J Cancer. 1996 Oct;74(8):1223-6. doi: 10.1038/bjc.1996.520.


Estimation of tumour proliferation may allow the design of individualised radiotherapy schedules to optimise response. This prospective study correlates the tumour proliferation rate of cervical carcinoma with response to conventional radiotherapy. The potential tumour cell doubling rate (Tpot) was estimated following flash labelling of the tumours in vivo using the DNA precursor, bromodeoxyuridine (BrdUrd); samples were analysed by flow cytometry. Tumour ploidy, DNA index and mitotic count were also assessed as was histological grade and type. Multiple biopsies from each tumour were obtained from 121 women. The median Tpot was 4.0 days, median S-phase duration 12.8 h and median adjusted labelling index 9.8%. Higher BrdUrd labelling was seen in patients who developed pelvic tumour recurrence following radiotherapy. This was the only biological/histological parameter with univariate and multivariate significance in relation to locoregional recurrence (P = 0.006 and P = 0.034 respectively). This study represents the first assessment of Tpot in relation to long-term response of cervical tumours treated by radiotherapy treatment. The association of high BrdUrd labelling and poor pelvic disease-free survival indicates the need for further research into the potential of radiotherapy schedule alteration to reflect tumour proliferation. The predictive value may be enhanced by combination with other biological parameters.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Bromodeoxyuridine / metabolism
  • Cell Cycle / radiation effects
  • Cell Division / radiation effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / radiotherapy*


  • Bromodeoxyuridine