Predictors of toxicity after image-guided high-dose-rate interstitial brachytherapy for gynecologic cancer

Larissa J. Lee, Akila N. Viswanathan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To identify predictors of grade 3-4 complications and grade 2-4 rectal toxicity after three-dimensional image-guided high-dose-rate (HDR) interstitial brachytherapy for gynecologic cancer. Methods and Materials: Records were reviewed for 51 women (22 with primary disease and 29 with recurrence) treated with HDR interstitial brachytherapy. A single interstitial insertion was performed with image guidance by computed tomography (n = 43) or magnetic resonance imaging (n = 8). The median delivered dose in equivalent 2-Gy fractions was 72.0 Gy (45 Gy for external-beam radiation therapy and 24 Gy for brachytherapy). Toxicity was reported according to the Common Toxicity Criteria for Adverse Events. Actuarial toxicity estimates were calculated by the Kaplan-Meier method. Results: At diagnosis, the median patient age was 62 years and the median tumor size was 3.8 cm. The median D90 and V100 were 71.4 Gy and 89.5%; the median D2cc for the bladder, rectum, and sigmoid were 64.6 Gy, 61.0 Gy, and 52.7 Gy, respectively. The actuarial rates of all grade 3-4 complications at 2 years were 20% gastrointestinal, 9% vaginal, 6% skin, 3% musculoskeletal, and 2% lymphatic. There were no grade 3-4 genitourinary complications and no grade 5 toxicities. Grade 2-4 rectal toxicity was observed in 10 patients, and grade 3-4 complications in 4; all cases were proctitis with the exception of 1 rectal fistula. D2cc for rectum was higher for patients with grade 2-4 (68 Gy vs 57 Gy for grade 0-1, P=.03) and grade 3-4 (73 Gy vs 58 Gy for grade 0-2, P=.02) rectal toxicity. The estimated dose that resulted in a 10% risk of grade 2-4 rectal toxicity was 61.8 Gy (95% confidence interval, 51.5-72.2 Gy). Discussion: Image-guided HDR interstitial brachytherapy results in acceptable toxicity for women with primary or recurrent gynecologic cancer. D2cc for the rectum is a reliable predictor of late rectal complications. Three-dimensional-based treatment planning should be performed to ensure adequate tumor coverage while minimizing the D2cc to the rectum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1192-1197
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 1 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Gynecologic brachytherapy
  • High-dose-rate brachytherapy
  • Interstitial brachytherapy
  • Rectal toxicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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