Existing chemotherapy treatment used in a new way reduces cervical cancer deaths, study finds

Chemoradiation has been the gold standard for treating cervical cancer, but a small change could improve survival rates
Published: Oct. 25, 2023 at 5:52 AM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - A medical breakthrough was already sitting in doctors’ toolboxes. An already-approved chemotherapy drug appears to dramatically reduce the risk of death from cervical cancer.

The finding could change the way cervical cancer is treated.

The study was presented at a major medical conference. It followed 500 people, most of home had locally advanced cervical cancer that hadn’t spread yet to other parts of the body.

Half of the patients were treated with chemoradiation -- the current gold standard for treatment, according to researchers -- while the other half were given a combination therapy that included a pre-dose of chemotherapy before every session of chemoradiation.

The study found the group that received the additional chemotherapy survived longer, on average. After 5 years, 80% of these women were still alive, compared to 72% who received the standard treatment.

Researchers say this new strategy of giving an early pre-dose of chemo plus the combination of chemo and radiation should become the new standard.

However, doctors continue urging early screening and prevention for this type of cancer, emphasizing vaccination against the human papillomavirus, or HPV, which most people are exposed to.