Enhanced radiosensitization with interferon-alpha-2b and cisplatin in the treatment of locally advanced cervical carcinoma

Gynecol Oncol. 1997 Dec;67(3):309-15. doi: 10.1006/gyno.1997.4879.


Purpose: To evaluate the efficacy and toxicity of interferon-alpha-2b (IFN-alpha) and cisplatin given concomitantly with radiation therapy (RT) in the treatment of locally advanced cervical carcinoma.

Materials and methods: Twenty-one patients with stage bulky Ib-IIIb (Ib, 2; IIa, 2; IIb, 8; IIIb, 9) cervical carcinoma were treated with combined IFN-alpha (5 million IU) subcutaneously three times per week and cisplatin (25 mg/m2) i.v. infusion over 2 h weekly for 7 weeks, given concomitantly with RT (4500 cGy of external beam plus 2 brachytherapy procedures). Total radiation doses delivered ranged from 7500 to 9960 cGy (median, 9300 cGy). Follow-up ranged from 16 to 33 months (median, 25 months).

Results: The 2-year local control rate was 100%. The only sites of disease recurrence were distant. Freedom from distant metastases, disease-free survival, and overall survival at 2 years was 76%. Late complication rates were high. Grade 4 rectosigmoid, bladder, and small bowel complication rates were 49, 18, and 23% at 2 years. Late toxicity was seen earlier than expected with rectosigmoid complications observed 5 to 11.5 months (median, 8 months) after completion of treatment.

Conclusion: Combination IFN-alpha and cisplatin produced a marked effect of enhanced radiosensitization as evidenced by 100% local tumor control and high late normal tissue complication rates. Due to the unacceptable late toxicity, its routine clinical use cannot be recommended. Further investigation is needed to determine whether a therapeutic window exists such that the use of lower doses of IFN-alpha, cisplatin, or RT can increase tumor control with more acceptable normal tissue toxicity.

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Brachytherapy / adverse effects
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant / adverse effects
  • Cisplatin / administration & dosage
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Interferon alpha-2
  • Interferon-alpha / administration & dosage
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Radiation-Sensitizing Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Radiotherapy Dosage
  • Radiotherapy, Adjuvant / adverse effects
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / pathology
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / radiotherapy*


  • Interferon alpha-2
  • Interferon-alpha
  • Radiation-Sensitizing Agents
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Cisplatin