Research Advances Cancer Treatment
By Jeannine Manning Hutson
A new study has shown for the first time that giving two
chemotherapy drugs to women with advanced endometrial cancer after
surgery reduced the risk of recurrence by 29 percent and extended
survival by 32 percent compared with women who received whole abdominal
irradiation. The findings could improve the care for the 15 to 20
percent of patients with endometrial cancer who have advanced disease.
The study was published online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
Marcus E. Randall
Endometrial cancer is the most common gynecologic cancer in the
United States. The American Cancer Society estimates that this year
40,880 women will be diagnosed with the disease and 7,310 will die.
,For the first time, adjuvant chemotherapy has been shown to extend
survival in patients with advanced endometrial cancer,Š said the
study‰s lead author, Dr. Marcus E. Randall, professor of radiation
oncology at the Brody School of Medicine and director of the Leo W.
Jenkins Cancer Center. ,These findings were surprising, given that
previous studies showed that single chemotherapy agents do not have a
significant impact on the disease.Š
Researchers from the Gynecologic Oncology Group compared the rate of
recurrence and overall survival between 194 women with advanced
endometrial cancer who received chemotherapy with the drugs doxorubicin
and cisplatin over a period of five months and 202 women who received
radiation therapy to the entire abdomen over a period of approximately
six weeks. Patients were enrolled in the trial from 1992 until 2001.
Researchers followed patients for a median of just over six years, and
used a statistical model to estimate five-year recurrence and survival
After five years, 50 percent of patients who received chemotherapy
were estimated to be free of disease compared with 38 percent of those
who received whole abdominal irradiation. Moreover, 55 percent of
patients who received chemotherapy were estimated to be alive after
five years, compared with 42 percent of patients in the radiation
However, serious adverse side effects were more common in the
chemotherapy group. Another study is underway to see if the
chemotherapy drugs carboplatin and paclitaxel will be as effective, but
with fewer serious side effects.
A consumer information piece on this study can be found at www.PLWC.org/CancerAdvances. For additional information on the diagnosis and treatment of endometrial cancer including staging illustrations, visit www.PLWC.org/uterine.