Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy Tied to Reduced Toxicity in Certain Cancers

Patients in conventional radiotherapy arm had more high-level adverse events than those in IMRT arm
Patients in conventional radiotherapy arm had more high-level adverse events than those in IMRT arm

HealthDay News — For women with cervical and endometrial cancer, treatment with intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) is associated with reduced toxicity, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology, held from September 25 to 28 in Boston.

Ann H. Klopp, MD, PhD, from the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and colleagues stratified patients with cervical and endometrial cancer who received pelvic radiation postoperatively by dose, use of chemotherapy, and disease site. Two hundred seventy-eight patients were randomized to standard four-field radiation or IMRT. 

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The researchers found that the decline in the Expanded Prostate Cancer Index Composite bowel summary score at five weeks was significantly larger for the conventional RT arm versus the IMRT arm (P=0.048). The median change in bowel function subscale was −17.9 and −14.3 for the conventional RT and IMRT arms, respectively. More high-level adverse events were experienced by patients in the conventional arm at five weeks from the start of RT.

"Many radiation oncologists already use IMRT for women undergoing pelvic radiation, but this research provides data that using IMRT, which is a more resource intensive treatment, makes a real difference to patients receiving radiation therapy to the pelvic area," Klopp said in a statement. "When performed by an experienced radiation oncology team, IMRT reduces the risk of short-term bowel and bladder side effects for patients with endometrial and cervical cancer."

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