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ASTRO releases ‘Radiation Therapy for Cervical Cancer’ with SGO input

Jun 4, 2020

Now in press: “Radiation Therapy for Cervical Cancer: Executive Summary of an ASTRO Clinical Practice Guideline” has been published online in Practical Radiation Oncology. This is a new guideline that incorporates advances in surgical procedures, brachytherapy and intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) techniques and use of concurrent chemotherapy, in accordance with outcomes of large phase 3 clinical trials completed over the past decade.

The authors concluded that there is strong evidence supporting the use of radiation therapy (RT) with or without chemotherapy in both definitive and postoperative settings. According to the authors’ findings: “Brachytherapy is an essential part of definitive management and volumetric planning is recommended. IMRT may be used for the reduction of acute and late toxicity. The use of radiation remains an essential component for women with cervical cancer to achieve cure.”

The multidisciplinary task force that created this ASTRO guideline consisted of representatives from SGO, American Brachytherapy Society, and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). “Incorporation of diverse specialists ensured that the guidelines reflect accepted practice standards from not only radiation oncologists, but also from gynecologic oncologists and medical oncologists’ perspective,” said co-author and ASCO representative Christina Annunziata, MD, PhD, from the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, MD. “The dialogue was critical in formulating these guidelines to be scientifically and medically sound recommendations.”

As health care practitioners have had to take into account the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on their practices, co-author and SGO representative Christine H. Holschneider, MD, from David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA/Olive View-UCLA Medical Center in Sylmar, CA, noted that the pandemic has not significantly changed how oncologists manage cervical cancer where radiation is administered in the postoperative adjuvant setting or as definitive primary therapy.

“When determining the best approach to treatment for cervical cancer, we weigh patient factors and stage of disease as usually in the context of best practices and standard of care, but now during COVID we also consider hospital resource availability/utilization with surgery and/or radiation and patient exposure risk with both,” said Dr. Holschneider.

“These guidelines are fully evidence-based and will offer patients the best chance of positive outcomes,” Dr. Annunziata.