EMBRACE| Volume 127, ISSUE 3, P449-455, June 2018

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Physician assessed and patient reported lower limb edema after definitive radio(chemo)therapy and image-guided adaptive brachytherapy for locally advanced cervical cancer: A report from the EMBRACE study



      To evaluate the pattern of manifestation and risk factors for lower limb edema (LLE) within the prospective, observational, multi-center EMBRACE study on radiochemotherapy and MRI-guided brachytherapy in locally advanced cervical cancer (LACC).


      LLE was prospectively assessed according to the physician-reported CTCAE v.3 and patient-reported EORTC QLQ-CX24 questionnaire at baseline and regular follow-up.


      In total, 1176 patients were evaluated with a median follow-up of 27 months. Actuarial analyses revealed 3/5-year estimates of 27%/31% of CTCAE G ≥ 1, 6.1%/6.6% of G ≥ 2 and 0.5%/0.5% for G ≥ 3.
      Prevalence rates for G ≥ 1 LLE at 3 months, 1, 3 and 5 years after end of treatment were 7%, 12%, 12%, 15% for physician-assessed and 25%, 30%, 30%, 34% for any patient-reported symptoms and showed a steady increase over time.
      Invasive lymph node staging and obesity at diagnosis are independent significant risk factors for G ≥ 1 LLE, whereas nodal boost has no impact. Extended radiation fields including para-aortic and/or inguinal nodes show a tendency to increase the risk.


      Severe LLE after definitive radiochemotherapy in LACC is rare. However, the risk for mild LLE is considerable, and related to patient-, diagnostic- and treatment characteristics.
      Less invasive diagnostic surgical procedures or non-invasive assessment, less invasive radiotherapy management and active rehabilitation are important pathways for future developments.


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