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J Korean Soc Ther Radiol Oncol > Volume 16(4); 1998 > Article
The Journal of the Korean Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology 1998;16(4): 357-366.
Current Status of High Dose Rate Brachytherapy in Cervical Cancer in Korea and Optimal Treatment Schedule
Seung Jae Huh
Department of Radiation Oncology, Samsung Medical Center, College of Medicine, Sung Kyun Kwan University, Seoul, Korea.
Brachytherapy is an essential part of radiotherapy for uterine cervical cancer. The low dose rate (LDR) regimen has been the major technique of intracavitary therapy for cervical cancer. However, there has been an expansion in the last 20 years of high dose rate (HDR) machines using Ir-192 sources. Since 1979, HDR brachytherapy has been used for the treatment of uterine cervical cancer in Korea. The number of institutions employing HDR has been increasing, while the number of low dose rate system has been constant. In 1995, there was a total 27 HDR brachytherapy units installed and 1258 cases of patients with cervical cancer were treated with HDR. Most common regimens of HDR brachytherapy are total dose of 30-39 Gy at point A with 10-13 fractions in three fractions per week, 24-32 Gy with 6-8 fractions in two fractions per week, and 30-35 Gy with 6-7 fractions in two fractions per week. The average fractionation regimen of HDR brachytherapy is about 8 fractions of 4.1 Gy each to Point A. In Korea, treatment results for HDR brachytherapy are comparable with the LDR series and appears to be a safe and effective alternative to LDR therapy for the treatment of cervical carcinoma. Studies from the major centers report the five-year survival rate of cervical cancer as, 78-86% for Stage I, 68-85% for stage II, and 38-56% for Stage III. World-wide questionnaire study and Japanese questionnaire survey of multiple institutions showed no survival difference in any stages and dose-rate effect ratio (HDR/LDR) was calculated to be 0.54 to 0.58. However, the optimum treatment doses and fractionation schemes appropriate to generate clinical results comparable to conventional LDR schemes have yet to be standardized. In conclusion, HDR intracavitary radiotherapy is increasingly practiced in Korea and an effective treatment modality for cervical cancer. To determine the optimum radiotherapy dose and fractionation schedule, a nation-wide prospective study is necessary in Korea. In addition, standardization of HDR application (clinical, computer algorithms, and dosimetric aspects) is necessary.
Key Words: Cervical cancer, High dose rate brachytherapy, Korea
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