Introduction: Cervical cancer is the third most common cancer in India. There is limited data on the treatment of relapsed cervical cancer from India; therefore, we report the outcomes of patients with recurrent cervical cancer who were treated with palliative chemotherapy (CT).
Materials and methods: This was a retrospective study of patients with recurrent cervical cancer who received palliative CT from January 2012 to December 2016. The demographic details, clinical profile and survival outcomes were collected. Patients were treated with carboplatin or paclitaxel and carboplatin. Local radiation was given for symptomatic patients. Patients were assessed for responses clinically and/or radiologically after three and six cycles of CT. Progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) were calculated using the Kaplan–Meier method.
Results: Forty-six patients with recurrent cervical cancer were included in this analysis, with a median follow-up of 9.4 months. The median age was 49.5 (25–65) years and the median disease-free interval was 31.3 (2–196) months. Biopsy confirmation of relapse was established in 63%. The median number of CT cycles was six. Twenty-four (52.2%) patients completed six cycles of CT. The overall response rate was 56.5%. Patients with a complete or a partial response were more likely to have PFS > 6 months (p < 0.0001). Median PFS and OS were, respectively, 8.4 (95% CI 6.1–10.7) months and 10.3 (95% CI 6.8–13.8) months. The completion of all cycles of CT and the site of metastasis (nodal vs. visceral or combined) were found to be associated with OS.
Conclusion: Palliative CT with paclitaxel carboplatin is a safe and effective option in Indian patients with recurrent cervical cancer, with more than half of the patients completing the prescribed CT. Further prospective trials may be required to place this treatment in the right context, in this era of immunotherapy and targeted therapy. However, knowing the outcomes in our population and prognostic factors will help in better prognostication of patients, thereby channelling our limited resources where necessary.