Background: Small cell carcinoma of the uterine cervix is an uncommon tumor associated with high mortality even among patients with early stage disease. The role of adjuvant chemotherapy after surgery has been suggested by regimens used for small cell lung carcinoma. During the years 1980-1997, 19 cases in which various adjuvant chemotherapies were given after hysterectomy were reported in the literature published in English.
Methods: Adjuvant chemotherapy was administered consecutively to 23 patients with Stage Ib-II small cell cervical carcinoma who had been primarily treated with radical hysterectomy and had adequate bone marrow, renal, and hepatic functions. A combination of vincristine, doxorubicin, and cyclophosphamide alternating with cisplatin and etoposide (VAC/PE) was administered to 14 patients during the years 1988-1996 according to a prospective study protocol. A combination of cisplatin, vinblastine, and bleomycin (PVB) was administered to 8 patients, and another regimen was administered to 1 patient during the years 1984-1988. Prognostic factors were evaluated by analyzing both the data on these 23 patients and the pooled data on the cases retrieved from the literature and our own files.
Results: Ten of the 14 patients who received VAC/PE had no evidence of disease during a median follow-up of 41 months, whereas 3 of the 9 who received PVB or another regimen survived. Of the 10 patients who died of their disease, all died of distant metastasis within 10 months after recurrence. Meta-analysis of the pooled data showed that 68% of patients who received regimens containing VAC or PE survived, whereas 33% of patients who received regimens not containing VAC/PE survived (P = 0.0078, log rank test). Seventy percent of patients with no lymph node metastasis at hysterectomy and 35% with lymph node metastasis survived (P = 0.05). All patients who died of disease had extrapelvic metastasis.
Conclusions: Chemotherapies containing VAC or PE are favorable regimens for patients with early stage small cell cervical carcinoma after radical hysterectomy.