On behalf of the Gynecologic Oncology Group, we performed a randomized trial of radiotherapy in combination with three concurrent chemotherapy regimens -- cisplatin alone; cisplatin, fluorouracil, and hydroxyurea; and hydroxyurea alone -- in patients with locally advanced cervical cancer. Women with primary untreated invasive squamous-cell carcinoma, adenosquamous carcinoma, or adenocarcinoma of the cervix of stage IIB, III, or IVA, without involvement of the para-aortic lymph nodes, were enrolled. The patients had to have a leukocyte count of at least 3000 per cubic millimeter, a platelet count of at least 100,000 per cubic millimeter, a serum creatinine level no higher than 2 mg per deciliter (177 micromol per liter), and adequate hepatic function. All patients received external-beam radiotherapy according to a strict protocol. Patients were randomly assigned to receive one of three chemotherapy regimens: 40 mg of cisplatin per square meter of body-surface area per week for six weeks (group 1); 50 mg of cisplatin per square meter on days 1 and 29, followed by 4 g of fluorouracil per square meter given as a 96-hour infusion on days 1 and 29, and 2 g of oral hydroxyurea per square meter twice weekly for six weeks (group 2); or 3 g of oral hydroxyurea per square meter twice weekly for six weeks (group 3).
The analysis included 526 women. The median duration of follow-up was 35 months. Both groups that received cisplatin had a higher rate of progression-free survival than the group that received hydroxyurea alone (P<0.001 for both comparisons). The relative risks of progression of disease or death were 0.57 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.42 to 0.78) in group 1 and 0.55 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.40 to 0.75) in group 2, as compared with group 3. The overall survival rate was significantly higher in groups 1 and 2 than in group 3, with relative risks of death of 0.61 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.44 to 0.85) and 0.58 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.41 to 0.81), respectively.
Regimens of radiotherapy and chemotherapy that contain cisplatin improve the rates of survival and progression-free survival among women with locally advanced cervical cancer.