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Endometrial Cancer Treatment (Professional) (cont.)

Stage III Endometrial Cancer

Standard treatment options:

In general, patients with stage III endometrial cancer are treated with surgery and radiation therapy. Patients with inoperable disease, caused by the tumor that extends to the pelvic wall, may be treated with radiation therapy. The usual approach is to use a combination of intracavitary and external-beam radiation therapy.

Patients who are not candidates for either surgery or radiation therapy may be treated with progestational agents. Postoperative radiation therapy is used in patients who were thought to have had more localized disease (clinical stage I or stage II) but are found during a hysterectomy to have positive lymph nodes or adnexa. Studies of patterns of failure have found a high rate of distant metastases in the upper abdominal and extra-abdominal sites. For this reason, patients with stage III disease may be candidates for innovative clinical trials.[1]

Several randomized trials by the Gynecologic Oncology Group have utilized the known antitumor activity of doxorubicin. The addition of cisplatin to doxorubicin increased response rates and progression-free survival (PFS) over doxorubicin alone but without an effect on overall survival (OS).[2] However, in a trial conducted in a subset of patients with stage III or IV disease with residual tumors smaller than 2 cm and no parenchymal organ involvement, the use of the combination of cisplatin and doxorubicin resulted in improved OS compared to whole-abdominal radiation therapy (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.68; 95% confidence interval limits, 0.52–0.89; P = .02; 5-year survival rates of 55% vs. 42%).[3][Level of evidence: 1iiA] In a subsequent trial, paclitaxel with doxorubicin had a similar outcome to cisplatin with doxorubicin.[4,5] The three-drug regimen (doxorubicin, cisplatin, and paclitaxel) with granulocyte colony-stimulating factor, however, was significantly superior to cisplatin plus doxorubicin: response rates were 57% versus 34%, PFS was 8.3 months versus 5.3 months, and OS was 15.3 months versus 12.3 months, respectively. The superior regimen was associated with a 12% grade 3 and a 27% grade 2 peripheral neuropathy. [4,5][Level of evidence: 1iiDiv]

Treatment options under clinical evaluation:

  • Clinical trials such as GOG-94, which is now closed.

Current Clinical Trials

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with stage III endometrial carcinoma. The list of clinical trials can be further narrowed by location, drug, intervention, and other criteria.

General information about clinical trials is also available from the NCI Web site.


  1. Greven KM, Curran WJ Jr, Whittington R, et al.: Analysis of failure patterns in stage III endometrial carcinoma and therapeutic implications. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 17 (1): 35-9, 1989.
  2. Thigpen JT, Brady MF, Homesley HD, et al.: Phase III trial of doxorubicin with or without cisplatin in advanced endometrial carcinoma: a Gynecologic Oncology Group study. J Clin Oncol 22 (19): 3902-8, 2004.
  3. Randall ME, Filiaci VL, Muss H, et al.: Randomized phase III trial of whole-abdominal irradiation versus doxorubicin and cisplatin chemotherapy in advanced endometrial carcinoma: a Gynecologic Oncology Group Study. J Clin Oncol 24 (1): 36-44, 2006.
  4. Fleming GF, Brunetto VL, Cella D, et al.: Phase III trial of doxorubicin plus cisplatin with or without paclitaxel plus filgrastim in advanced endometrial carcinoma: a Gynecologic Oncology Group Study. J Clin Oncol 22 (11): 2159-66, 2004.
  5. Fleming GF, Filiaci VL, Bentley RC, et al.: Phase III randomized trial of doxorubicin + cisplatin versus doxorubicin + 24-h paclitaxel + filgrastim in endometrial carcinoma: a Gynecologic Oncology Group study. Ann Oncol 15 (8): 1173-8, 2004.
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