If chemotherapy becomes the only treatment option for cervical cancer, the prognosis has traditionally been regarded as dismal. Data from several recent trials have demonstrated significant improvements in outcome with specific cisplatin-containing combinations. The purpose of this review is to highlight the evolution of phase III trials leading to current treatment standards.
Given the modest activity of single-agent cisplatin, devoid of any meaningful impact on survival, prospective studies focused on other drugs that might prove either more effective than, or could be used in combination with, cisplatin. Both paclitaxel and topotecan, in combination with cisplatin, yielded superior response rates and progression-free survival without diminishing patient-reported quality of life; however, only cisplatin plus topotecan also improved overall survival. Furthermore, patient-reported quality of life is not diminished despite the greater acute toxicity of combination regimens.
Despite these chemotherapeutic advances, median survival is still less than one year and most patients do not respond to treatment. It is important that investigators identify those patients who should participate in investigational trials of non-platinum-containing regimens. The next generation of clinical trials should explore emerging biological therapies.
Gynecologic Oncology of Indiana, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
Correspondence to David H. Moore, MD, Gynecologic Oncology of Indiana, 5255 East Stop 11 Road, Suite 310, Indianapolis, IN 46237, USA Tel: +1 317 851 2555; fax: +1 317 851 2566; e-mail: email@example.com