To determine current practice patterns with regard to gynecologic high-dose-rate (HDR) brachytherapy among international members of the Gynecologic Cancer Intergroup (GCIG) in Japan/Korea (Asia), Australia/New Zealand (ANZ), Europe (E) and North America (NAm).
Materials and Methods
A 32-item survey was developed requesting information on brachytherapy practice patterns and standard management for Stage IB-IVA cervical cancer. The chair of each GCIG member cooperative group selected radiation oncology members to receive the survey.
A total of 72 responses were analyzed; 61 respondents (85%) utilized HDR. The three most common HDR brachytherapy fractionation regimens for Stage IB-IIA patients were 6 Gy for 5 fractions (18%), 6 Gy × 4 (15%), 7 Gy × 3 (11%), and for Stage IIB-IVA patients were 6 Gy for 5 fractions (19%), 7 Gy × 4 (8%), and 7 Gy × 3 (8%). Overall, the mean combined external-beam and brachytherapy equivalent dose (EQD2) was 81.1 (standard deviation [SD], 10.16). The mean EQD2 recommended for Stage IB-IIA patients was 78.9 Gy (SD, 10.7) and for Stage IIB-IVA was 83.3 Gy (SD, 11.2) (p=0.02). By region, the mean combined EQD2 was: Asia, 71.2 Gy (SD, 12.65); ANZ, 81.18 (SD, 4.96); E, 83.24 (SD, 10.75); and NAm, 81.66 (SD, 6.05; p=0.02 for Asia vs. other regions). The ratio of brachytherapy to total prescribed dose was significantly higher for Japan (p=0.0002).
Although fractionation patterns may vary, the overall mean dose administered for cervical cancer is similar in Australia/New Zealand, Europe and North America, with practitioners in Japan administering a significantly lower external-beam dose but higher brachytherapy dose to the cervix. Given common goals, standardization should be possible in future clinical trials.