Clinical response of pelvic and para-aortic lymphadenopathy to a radiation boost in the definitive management of locally advanced cervical cancer

Dominique L. Rash, Yongsook C. Lee, Amir Kashefi, Blythe Durbin-Johnson, Mathew Mathai, Richard K Valicenti, Jyoti S. Mayadev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Purpose Optimal treatment with radiation for metastatic lymphadenopathy in locally advanced cervical cancer remains controversial. We investigated the clinical dose response threshold for pelvic and para-aortic lymph node boost using radiographic imaging and clinical outcomes. Methods and Materials Between 2007 and 2011, 68 patients were treated for locally advanced cervical cancer; 40 patients had clinically involved pelvic and/or para-aortic lymph nodes. Computed tomography (CT) or 18F-labeled fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography scans obtained pre- and postchemoradiation for 18 patients were reviewed to assess therapeutic radiographic response of individual lymph nodes. External beam boost doses to involved nodes were compared to treatment response, assessed by change in size of lymph nodes by short axis and change in standard uptake value (SUV). Patterns of failure, time to recurrence, overall survival (OS), and disease-free survival (DFS) were determined. Results Sixty-four lymph nodes suspicious for metastatic involvement were identified. Radiation boost doses ranged from 0 to 15 Gy, with a mean total dose of 52.3 Gy. Pelvic lymph nodes were treated with a slightly higher dose than para-aortic lymph nodes: mean 55.3 Gy versus 51.7 Gy, respectively. There was no correlation between dose delivered and change in size of lymph nodes along the short axis. All lymph nodes underwent a decrease in SUV with a complete resolution of abnormal uptake observed in 68%. Decrease in SUV was significantly greater for lymph nodes treated with ≥54 Gy compared to those treated with <54 Gy (P=.006). Median follow-up was 18.7 months. At 2 years, OS and DFS for the entire cohort were 78% and 50%, respectively. Locoregional control at 2 years was 84%. Conclusions A biologic response, as measured by the change in SUV for metastatic lymph nodes, was observed at a dose threshold of 54 Gy. We recommend that involved lymph nodes be treated to this minimum dose.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)317-322
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiation
  • Cancer Research


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