Less Radiation, More Tailored Treatments Effective for Uterine Cancer

URMC Study Shows Excellent Results with Fewer Treatments

September 17, 2004

Less radiation, delivered in a more tailored manner, is very effective and should be preferred over longer-term conventional radiation therapy in treating one of the most virulent forms of uterine cancer, according to a University of Rochester Medical Center study published in this month’s Gynecologic Oncology.

The study evaluated cases of aggressive subtypes of endometrial cancer, called papillary serous or clear cell cancer, treated with tailored, high-dose radiation treatments conducted in four office visits over four weeks.  Conventional and more extensive radiation therapy for these subtypes consists of five weeks of daily treatments.  Led by Brent DuBeshter, M.D., head of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology for the Wilmot Cancer Center and the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Rochester Medical Center, researchers determined patients had excellent localized control of their tumors with the more tailored, less extensive form of treatment.

“The obvious benefit to patients is having the same success from treatment and better control of the disease with less radiation overall, considerably fewer treatments, and fewer side effects,” says DuBeshter, who will present the findings in October to the International Society of Gynecologic Cancer’s meeting in Edinburgh, Scotland.  “The next step is to explore the impact of adding chemotherapy to radiation in treating these cancers.”

Endometrial or uterine cancer – rapid and uncontrolled growth of cells in the lining of the uterus – is the most common gynecological cancer, striking 40,000 women annually in the United States and causing about 7,000 deaths.  Up to 20 percent of cases are the virulent subtype studied.

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