A study had been conducted on women who had surgical procedures for endometrial cancer, were given chemotherapy after the surgery, and it showed to reduce the risk of recurrence of endometrial cancer in about 29 percent of the women and extended survival rate by 32 percent compared with radiation therapy.
The statistics show that endometrial cancer is the most common gynecologic cancer in United States and the American Cancer Society estimates that in the year 2005, there will be about 40,900 women who will be diagnosed with this disease and about 7,310 women will die from this. This is something pretty challenging.
The study that has been conducted will prove benefit to about 15 to 20 percent of women with endometrial cancer who have advanced disease.
During this study the investigators compared the recurrence rates and overall survival between 194 women randomized to 5 months of chemotherapy with doxorubicin and cisplatin compared to that of 202 women randomized to about one and a half months of radiation to the abdomen. The women had stage III or IV endometrial carcinoma with residual disease after surgery.
After about 5 years of adjusting for disease stage, about 55 percent of patients receiving chemotherapy were predicted to be alive as compared to the 42 percent of whole-abdominal irradiation patients, and 50 percent and 38 percent respectively were predicted to be free of disease.
It is the first time that adjuvant chemotherapy has shown to extend survival rates in patients with advanced endometrial cancer.
This study has thus opened a new avenue for women who are suffering from endometrial cancer or even who are at high risk of developing this lethal disease.
There are other things that need to be discussed here, which are serious treatment-related adverse events, which are more common and more severe in the chemotherapy arm and treatment, which probably contributed to the deaths of eight patients, 4 percent, on the chemotherapy arm and five, 2 percent, on the radiation arm.
Thus the toxic effects of the chemotherapy are there and there is more research that is needed to know as if the two other chemotherapeutic drugs, which are carboplatin and paclitaxel will be as effective and with fewer side effects in women with advanced endometrial cancer.
I believe that constant search and the will to find a way will make its own path where researchers will find a better regimen for patients going through endometrial cancer.