Radiotherapy improves endometrial cancer

Source: The European Cancer Conference; Barcelona Spain: 23-27 September 2007

Assessing the quality of life of patients with endometrial cancer who receive vaginal brachytherapy


MedWire News: Preliminary results from this year's European Cancer Conference in Barcelona, Spain, suggest that vaginal brachytherapy can improve the quality of life (QoL) of endometrial cancer patients.

Remi Nout (Leiden University, The Netherlands) and colleagues analyzed the responses of 427 patients on a QoL questionnaire, who were randomly assigned to receive vaginal brachytherapy or external beam pelvic radiotherapy. The questionnaires were completed before and after treatment, and every 6-12 months for up to 5 years.

QoL scores were at the lowest levels after surgery and were similar for the two treatment groups.

From 6 to 12 months, QoL gradually increased in both groups of patients, but from 6 months onwards the improvement was significantly greater for women receiving vaginal brachytherapy than for those receiving pelvic radiotherapy.

The patients receiving vaginal brachtherapy also experienced significantly fewer acute bowel symptoms and less fatigue compared with those receiving pelvic radiotherapy. This benefit was maintained during follow-up.

Sexual symptoms, such as reduced sexual interest and vaginal dryness, did not differ significantly between the two treatment groups.

The researchers concluded: "If we find vaginal brachytherapy is as effective as external radiotherapy, we would expect it to become the standard adjuvant treatment in intermediate risk endometrial cancer."

Posted: 26 September 2007