Transition from LDR to HDR brachytherapy for cervical cancer: Evaluation of tumor control, survival, and toxicity

K. D. Romano, K. J. Pugh, D. M. Trifiletti, B. Libby, T. N. Showalter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Purpose In 2012, our institution transitioned from low-dose-rate (LDR) brachytherapy to high dose-rate (HDR) brachytherapy. We report clinical outcomes after brachytherapy for cervical cancer at our institution over a continuous 10-year period. Methods and Materials From 2004 to 2014, 258 women (184 LDR and 74 HDR) were treated with tandem and ovoid brachytherapy in the multidisciplinary management of International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics Stages IA–IVB cervical cancer. Clinical and treatment-related prognostic factors including age, stage, smoking status, relevant doses, and toxicity data were recorded. Results Median followup for the LDR and HDR groups was 46 months and 12 months, respectively. The majority of patients (92%) received external beam radiotherapy as well as concurrent chemotherapy (83%) before the start of brachytherapy. For all stages, the 1-year local control and overall survival (OS) rates were comparable between the LDR and HDR groups (87% vs. 81%, p = 0.12; and 75% vs. 85%, p = 0.16), respectively. Factors associated with OS on multivariate analysis include age, stage, and nodal involvement. On multivariate analysis, severe toxicity (acute or chronic) was higher with HDR than LDR (24% vs. 10%, p = 0.04). Additional prognostic factors associated with increased severe toxicity include former/current smokers and total dose to lymph nodes. Conclusions This comparative retrospective analysis of a large cohort of women treated with brachytherapy demonstrates no significant difference in OS or local control between the LDR and HDR. Acute and chronic toxicity increased shortly after the implementation of HDR, highlighting the importance of continued refinement of HDR methods, including integrating advanced imaging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)378-386
Number of pages9
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017


  • Brachytherapy
  • Cervical cancer
  • High dose rate
  • Low dose rate
  • Radiation therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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