Patients w/ abnormal Pap smear are referred for colonoscopy to screen for presence of cervical cancer.
Colposcopic exam should include inspection of the transformation zone, definition of the extent of the lesion & biopsy of the most abnormal area for tissue diagnosis.
The earliest stages of cervical carcinoma are generally asymptomatic.
Watery vaginal discharge & postcoital bleeding or intermittent spotting may be present & are usually unrecognized by the patient.

Cervical%20cancer%20-%20treatment Treatment

Observation After Cone Biopsy

  • If patient is medically inoperable or wishes to preserve fertility, observation after conization or cone biopsy may be appropriate if:
    • Depth of invasion is shown to be <3 mm
    • There are clear margins
      • If margins are positive, repeat cone biopsy or do trachelectomy
      • If margins are still positive on repeat cone biopsy, treat as stage IB
    • No vascular or lymphatic invasion is noted
  • If with lymphovascular invasion, surgical option is cone biopsy or trachelectomy with pelvic lymph node dissection with or without para-aortic lymph node sampling

Principles of Therapy

Surgery vs Radiotherapy (RT) in Patients with Stage IB1 or Stage IIA1

  • Treatment of choice will depend on many factors including the following:
    • Patient preference
    • Desire for preservation of vaginal and ovarian functions
    • Psychological and medical conditions
    • Age
    • Local clinician expertise
    • Size of primary tumor; radiotherapy should be primary treatment for adenocarcinomas that expand the cervix >3 cm
  • Both treatments result in equivalent cure rates

Adjuvant Therapy

Negative Lymph Nodes

  • The following are options in patients with negative lymph nodes after radical hysterectomy:
    • Observation
    • Pelvic EBRT with or without concurrent Cisplatin-containing chemotherapy in patients with high-risk factors (ie lymphovascular invasion, deep stromal invasion, and large primary tumor)
      • Based on a trial that after 2 years, the recurrence-free rate for surgically treated patients on pelvic radiotherapy was 88%; after a 12-year follow-up, an increase in the progression-free survival was noted

Positive Pelvic Lymph Nodes, and/or Parametrial Involvement and/or Surgical Margins

  • Patients should be treated with postoperative pelvic EBRT with concurrent Cisplatin-containing chemotherapy with or without vaginal brachytherapy
  • Based on a study, it showed that pelvic radiation with 5-Fluorouracil and Cisplatin has a statistically significant benefit in patients

Positive Para-aortic Lymph Nodes

  • Further screening with computed tomography (CT) or combined positron emission tomography-computed tomography (PET-CT) scan is required
  • Biopsy of suspicious areas is recommended in patients with positive distant metastases
  • Patients with negative findings should undergo para-aortic lymph node EBRT with concurrent Cisplatin-based chemotherapy and pelvic EBRT
    • Brachytherapy is recommended
  • Patients with positive findings should be treated with chemotherapy and individualized EBRT

Systemic Therapy for Metastatic Disease

  • Patients who develop distant metastasis are rarely curable
  • The following measures, such as surgical resection with or without individualized EBRT, may be done in highly selected patients with isolated distant metastases
  • Palliative measures, in pelvic recurrences with heavily irradiated sites not amenable to surgical resection or local pain control techniques, are unresolved clinical issues
    • Patients may occasionally benefit from radiotherapy to a localized recurrence (eg supraclavicular, bone metastases, or painful para-aortic nodal recurrences)
      • If with limited resources and if feasible, short or single courses of radiotherapy can be utilized with retreatments for recurrent or persistent symptoms


Relapse and Metastases


  • Has a limited role in prolonging survival or improving quality of life
  • Recommended in patients with extrapelvic metastases or patients with recurrent disease who are not candidates for radiotherapy or exenteration
  • Combination platinum-based regimens are preferred over single agents, if Cisplatin has been previously used as a radiosensitizer
  • Cisplatin is the preferred 1st-line single agent for recurrent or metastatic cervical cancer
    • Response rates of approximately 20-30% and overall survival of about 6-9 months
  • Other first-line single agents include Carboplatin and Paclitaxel
    • Carboplatin may also be preferred over Cisplatin due to tolerability, ease of administration, and preservation of renal function
      • In basic-resource settings, single-agent chemotherapy with either Carboplatin or Cisplatin is recommended
    • Paclitaxel has also been reported to be effective and tolerable
  • The following are first-line combination therapies: Cisplatin/Paclitaxel, Cisplatin/Gemcitabine, Cisplatin/Topotecan, Paclitaxel/Carboplatin, Cisplatin/Paclitaxel/Bevacizumab, Topotecan/Paclitaxel, Topotecan/Paclitaxel/Bevacizumab, and Carboplatin/Paclitaxel/Bevacizumab
    • Cisplatin/Paclitaxel or Carboplatin/Paclitaxel is less toxic and provides easier administration
    • Cisplatin/Topotecan has been approved for advanced cervical cancer
      • The combination was shown to be superior compared to single-agent Cisplatin based on overall response rate of 27%, progression-free survival of 4.6 months, and median survival of 9.4 months
    • Cisplatin/Gemcitabine may be useful in patients with neuropathy who cannot tolerate other drug combinations
  • Second-line therapies include Bevacizumab, Docetaxel, Gemcitabine, Ifosfamide, Irinotecan, Mitomycin, Pemetrexed, Topotecan, Vinorelbine, Fluorouracil (5-FU), and albumin-bound Paclitaxel
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