start with NCI Vaginal Cancer site: patient or physician
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Cancer Society Vaginal Cancer Site, AMA
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Cancer of the vagina is the least common gynecologic cancer and is primarily treated with radiation (rather than surgery or chemotherapy.) The radiation is usually a combination of external beam irradiation (i.e linear accelerator) plus intracavitary cesium or HDR (see the studies below). There may also be benefit from combining radiation with chemotherapy (see here).
|Disease-free survival for all patients with primary carcinoma of the vagina (Stages 0 through IVA).|
|From:Perez CA, Garipagaoglu M: Vagina. In Perez CA, Brady LW, editors: Principles and Practice of Radiation Oncology, ed 3, pp 18911914. Philadelphia, Lippincott-Raven, 1998.|
|According to the published literature the control rates and sruvival with radiation (from Leibel and Phillips and Perez Textbooks) is:|
Methods and Materials: Between 1970 and 2000, a total of 193 patients were treated with definitive radiation therapy for squamous cell carcinoma of the vagina at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. The patients’ medical records were reviewed to obtain information about patient, tumor, and treatment characteristics, as well as outcome and patterns of recurrence. Surviving patients were followed for a median of 137 months. Survival rates were calculated using the Kaplan-Meier method, with differences assessed using log-rank tests.
Results: Disease-specific survival (DSS) and pelvic disease control rates correlated with International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) stage and tumor size. At 5 years, DSS rates were 85% for the 50 patients with Stage I, 78% for the 97 patients with Stage II, and 58% for the 46 patients with Stage III–IVA disease (p = 0.0013). Five-year DSS rates were 82% and 60% for patients with tumors ≤4 cm or >4 cm, respectively (p = 0.0001). At 5 years, pelvic disease control rates were 86% for Stage I, 84% for Stage II, and 71% for Stage III–IVA (p = 0.027). The predominant mode of relapse after definitive radiation therapy was local-regional (68% and 83%, respectively, for patients with stages I–II or III–IVA disease). The incidence of major complications was correlated with FIGO stage; at 5 years, the rates of major complications were 4% for Stage I, 9% for Stage II, and 21% for Stage III–IVA (p < 0.01).
Conclusions: Excellent outcomes can be achieved with definitive radiation therapy for invasive squamous cell carcinoma of the vagina. However, to achieve these results, treatment must be individualized according to the site and size of the tumor at presentation and the response to initial external-beam radiation therapy. Brachytherapy plays an important role in the treatment of many vaginal cancers but should be carefully selected and applied to obtain optimal coverage of the target volume.
|Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 1999 Apr 1;44(1):37-45
Factors affecting long-term outcome of irradiation in carcinoma of the vagina.
Perez CA, Grigsby PW, Garipagaoglu M, Mutch DG, Lockett MA
Radiation Oncology Center, Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology, Washington University Medical Center, St. Louis, MO, USA. email@example.com
A retrospective analysis was performed on records of 212 patients with histologically confirmed carcinoma of the vagina treated with irradiation. RESULTS: Tumor stage was the most significant prognostic factor; actuarial 10-year disease-free survival was 94% for Stage 0 (20 patients), 80% for Stage I (59 patients), 55% for Stage IIA (63 patients), 35% for Stage IIB (34 patients), 38% for Stage III (20 patients), and 0% for Stage IV (15 patients). All in situ lesions except one were controlled with intracavitary therapy. Of the patients with Stage I disease, 86% showed no evidence of vaginal or pelvic recurrence; most of them received interstitial or intracavitary therapy or both, and the addition of external-beam irradiation did not significantly increase survival or tumor control. In Stage IIA (paravaginal extension) and IIB (parametrial involvement) 66% and 56% of the tumors, respectively, were controlled with a combination of brachytherapy and external-beam irradiation; 13 of 20 (65%) Stage III tumors were controlled in the pelvis. Four patients with Stage IV disease (27%) had no recurrence in the pelvis. The total incidence of distant metastases was 13% in Stage I, 30% in Stage IIA, 52% in Stage IIB, 50% in Stage III, and 47% in Stage IV. The dose of irradiation delivered to the primary tumor or the parametrial extension was of relative importance in achieving successful results. In patients with Stage I disease, brachytherapy alone achieved the same local tumor control (80-100%) as in patients receiving external pelvic irradiation (78-100%) as well. In Stage II and III there was a trend toward better tumor control (57-80%) with combined external irradiation and brachytherapy than with the latter alone (33-50%) (p = 0.42). The incidence of grade 2-3 complications (12%) correlated with the stage of the tumor and type of treatment given. CONCLUSION: Radiation therapy is an effective treatment for patients with vaginal carcinoma, particularly Stage I. More effective irradiation techniques, including optimization of dose distribution combining external irradiation and interstitial brachytherapy in tumors beyond Stage I, are necessary to enhance locoregional tumor control. The high incidence of distant metastases emphasizes the need for earlier diagnosis and effective systemic cytotoxic agents to improve survival in these patients.
Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 1988 Dec;15(6):1283-90
Definitive irradiation in carcinoma of the vagina: long-term evaluation of results.
Perez CA, Camel HM, Galakatos AE, Grigsby PW, Kuske RR, Buchsbaum G, Hederman MA
Radiation Oncology Center, Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology, St. Louis, MO 63108.
A retrospective analysis of 165 patients with histologically confirmed carcinoma of the vagina is reported. Actuarial disease-free 10-year survival was: Stage 0 (16 patients)--94%, Stage I (50 patients)--75%, Stage IIA (49 patients)--55%, Stage IIB (26 patients)--43%, Stage III (16 patients)--32%, Stage IV (8 patients)--0%. All but one of the in situ lesions were controlled with intracavitary therapy. Of the patients with Stage I disease, 86% showed no evidence of vaginal or pelvic recurrence. Most of them received interstitial or intracavitary therapy or both; the addition of external beam irradiation did not significantly increase survival or tumor control. In Stage IIA (paravaginal extension) 61% of the tumors were controlled with a combination of brachytherapy and external beam irradiation. Ten of 16 Stage III tumors were controlled in the pelvis. Two of the patients with Stage IV disease had no recurrence in the pelvis with relatively high doses of irradiation. The total incidence of distant metastases was 16% in Stage I, 30.6% in Stage IIA, 46.1% in Stage IIB, 62% in Stage III, and 50% in Stage IV. The dose of irradiation delivered to the primary tumor or the parametrial extension was critical in achieving successful results. The incidence of grade 2-3 complications (12%) is correlated with the stage of the tumor and type of treatment given. More effective irradiation techniques including the optimization of dose distribution by judicious combination of external irradiation and interstitial brachytherapy will be necessary to enhance loco-regional tumor control. The high incidence of distant metastases underscores the need for earlier diagnosis and effective systemic cytotoxic agents if survival is to be significantly improved in these patients.
Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 1996 Jul 15;35(5):891-905
Definitive radiotherapy for carcinoma of the vagina: outcome and prognostic factors.
Chyle V, Zagars GK, Wheeler JA, Wharton JT, Delclos L
Department of Clinical Radiotherapy, University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston 77030, USA.
This was a retrospective review of 301 patients with vaginal carcinoma (271 with squamous cell and 30 with adenocarcinoma) who received definitive radiotherapy between 1953 and 1991. stages were distributed as follows: 0, 37 (12%); I, 65 (22%); II, 122 (40%); III, 60 (20%); and, IVA, 17 (6%). Treatment varied according to stage, with brachytherapy predominating for early disease but external beam playing a prominent role for more advanced disease. Patients with in situ disease received brachytherapy alone or transvaginal orthovoltage irradiation. For Stage I, brachytherapy alone was used in 25, external beam and brachytherapy in 38, and transvaginal alone in 2. For Stage II, brachytherapy alone was used in 20, external and brachytherapy in 66, and external irradiation alone in 36. For Stage III, external and brachytherapy was used in 15, and external alone in 45. Two patients with Stage IVA received brachytherapy alone, 10 received a combination of external and brachytherapy, and 6 received external irradiation alone. Total doses ranged from 10 to 154 Gy (mean 74.7 Gy, median 70.0 Gy), but only 18 (6%) received less than 55 Gy. At a median follow-up of 13 years, the 5-, 10-, 15-, 20-, and 25-year survival rates were 60%, 49%, 38%, 29%, and 23%, respectively. Beyond 5 years the survival rates relative to those for age-matched females in the general population were between 50 and 65%. Actuarial local recurrence rates were 23%, 26%, and 26% at 5, 10, and 15 years. Actuarial pelvic relapse rates were 26%, 30%, and 31% at 5, 10, and 15 years, and metastatic rates at those times were 15%, 18%, and 18%. Adenocarcinoma (nonclear cell) was a significantly worse disease than squamous cell carcinoma. The major determinants of local control for squamous carcinoma were tumor bulk (specified by size in centimeters, or by FIGO stage), tumor site (upper lesions faring better than others), and tumor circumferential location (lesions involving the posterior wall faring worse). Tumor bulk was an important determinant of metastatic relapse, but failure to achieve local control was also an independently significant determinant of metastases. Salvage after first relapse was uncommon and the survival rate at 5 years after relapse was only 12%. Serious complications occurred in 39 patients with an actuarial incidence of 19% at 20 years. CONCLUSION: Vaginal carcinoma poses a formidable therapeutic challenge. The disease is heterogeneous with respect to its prognostic factors. Nonclear cell adenocarcinoma has an extremely poor prognosis and should be distinguished from squamous carcinoma. Both external beam and brachytherapy play crucial roles in management and most patients with disease beyond in situ should receive a significant component of external irradiation prior to brachytherapy.
Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 1991 Sep;21(4):1041-4
Results of radiotherapeutic management of primary carcinoma of the vagina.
Reddy S, Saxena VS, Reddy S, Lee MS, Yordan EL, Graham JE, Phillips R, Hendrickson FR
Department of Therapeutic Radiology, Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Med. Center, Chicago, IL 60612.
Forty-five previously untreated patients with primary carcinoma of the vagina were treated with curative radiotherapy from 1965 through 1985. All patients were staged according to the FIGO system. One patient was classified as Stage 0, 15 as Stage I, 22 as Stage II, 6 as Stage III, and 1 as Stage IV. Treatment consisted of intracavitary irradiation alone in Stage 0 patients. Stage I patients received intracavitary/interstitial irradiation alone or in combination with external irradiation and an implant when feasible. When treated with an implant only, the total tumor dose delivered was between 65-70 Gy. External irradiation consisted of delivering a dose of 45-50 Gy over a period of 4 1/2-5 weeks to the whole pelvis to treat the regional lymph nodes. An additional dose of 20-25 Gy was delivered to the site of original involvement using an implant when feasible. If not technically feasible, as in advanced stages, the patient was treated with additional external irradiation to a total dose of 65-70 Gy by a shrinking field technique. All patients except one were followed either until death or for a minimum of 2 years. The actuarial 5-year survival rates were 100% for Stage 0, 78% for Stage I, and 71% for Stage II patients. None of the patients with Stage III or IV disease survived. Of the patients who recurred, all but two did so within 16 months after diagnosis. Pelvic recurrence as the first site of recurrence occurred in 86% of the patients who recurred. Distant recurrence as a component occurred in 20% of all failures. Complications as a consequence of therapy occurred in 18% of the patients. Vaginal necrosis that healed with conservative treatment was seen in four patients and the other four patients had rectal complications of varying severity. Thus, curative radiotherapy is an effective method of treatment, with acceptable morbidity, in patients with early stage primary carcinoma of the vagina.