Author(s): Mayr NA, Magnotta VA, Ehrhardt JC, Wheeler JA, Sorosky JI, , Mayr NA, Magnotta VA, Ehrhardt JC, Wheeler JA, Sorosky JI,
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Abstract PURPOSE: Clinical evaluation of tumor size in cervical cancer is often difficult, and clinical signs of radiation therapy failure may not be present until well after completion of treatment. The purpose of this study is to investigate early indicators of treatment response using magnetic resonance (MR) imaging for quantitative assessment of tumor volume and tumor regression rate before, during, and after radiation therapy. METHODS AND MATERIALS: Thirty-four patients with cervical cancer Stages IB , IIB , IIIA , IIIB , IVA , IVB , and recurrent  were studied prospectively with four serial MR examinations obtained at the start of radiation therapy, at 2-2.5 weeks (20-24 Gy), at 4-5 weeks (40-50 Gy), and 1-2 months after treatment completion. Tumor volume was assessed by three-dimensional volumetric measurements using T2-weighted images of each MR examination. The volume regression rate was generated based on the four sequential MR studies. These findings were correlated with local control, metastasis rate, and disease-free survival. Median follow-up was 18 months (range: 9-43 months). RESULTS: The tumor regression rate after a dose of 40-50 Gy correlated significantly with treatment outcome. The actuarial 2-year disease-free survival was 88.4\% in patients with tumors regressing to < 20\% of the initial volume compared with 45.4\% in those with > or = 20\% residual (p = 0.007). The incidence of local recurrence was 9.5\% (2 out of 21) and 76.9\% (10 out of 13), respectively (p < 0.001). Analysis by initial tumor volume showed that this observation was valid in patients with initial volumes between 40 and 100 cm3. Analysis by FIGO stage confirmed this observation in all patients except those with Stage IB. CONCLUSION: Sequential tumor volumetry using MR imaging appears to be a sensitive measure of the responsiveness of cervical cancer to irradiation. Treatment response can be assessed as early as during the course of radiation therapy by measurement of initial tumor volume and regression rate at 40-50 Gy. In patients with large (> 40 cm3) and advanced (Stage > or = IIIA) tumors, this technique may be helpful in supplementing the clinical examination for response assessment. The identification of patients at high risk for treatment failure may ultimately lead to improved clinical outcome.
This article was published in Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys
and referenced in Journal of Cancer Science & Therapy