Article Abstract

Systemic therapy for cervical carcinoma – current status

Authors: Krystyna Serkies, Jacek Jassem


Two major treatment modalities in cervical cancer are radiation therapy (RT) and surgery. Chemotherapy continues to be the main form of systemic therapy adjunctive to definitive local therapies, and is used for palliation. Platinum-based regimens, administered concurrently with both definitive and postoperative RT, were demonstrated to provide significant survival benefits, whereas the beneficial effect of concurrent chemoradiotherapy in later-stage disease was smaller. The role of chemotherapy in addition to RT in IB1/IIA1 cervical cancer patients not undergoing surgery remains undefined. Likewise, the role of chemotherapy in combination with postoperative RT for patients with intermediate-risk factors for recurrence has not yet been verified. The recent standard for chemoradiotherapy is cisplatin alone administered weekly. Other cisplatin-based or non-cisplatin-based regimens have not been subjected to large clinical studies. The benefits of consolidation chemotherapy after chemoradiation for locally advanced cervical cancer are still undetermined. Neoadjuvant cisplatin-based chemotherapy followed by surgery has shown survival benefits, however its role in the era of chemoradiotherapy remains unclear. The combination of cisplatin and paclitaxel is considered a standard regimen in the palliative setting. There is no standard of care for second-line systemic therapy in advanced cervical cancer. Bevacizumab combined with palliative chemotherapy (cisplatin/paclitaxel or topotecan/paclitaxel) in the first-line treatment for recurrent/metastatic cervical cancer significantly improves overall survival when compared to chemotherapy alone. The role of immunotherapy in cervical cancer remains to be established. The optimal combined modality treatment including systemic therapy for cervical tumors of non-squamous histology remains a matter of debate. Ongoing accumulation of data on genomic and proteomic characteristics provides insight into the molecular heterogeneity of cervical cancer and paves the way for developing molecularly targeted therapies.

Keywords: Cervical cancer; chemotherapy; targeted therapy; immunotherapy