eISSN: 2081-2841
ISSN: 1689-832X
Journal of Contemporary Brachytherapy
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vol. 10
Original paper

Risk factors for fistula formation after interstitial brachytherapy for locally advanced gynecological cancers involving vagina

Allen Yen, Zhen Tian, Brian Hrycushko, Kevin Albuquerque

J Contemp Brachytherapy 2018; 10, 6: 510–515
Online publish date: 2018/12/05
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To determine risk factors for fistula formation after interstitial brachytherapy (ISBT) in patients with advanced gynecologic cancers.

Material and methods
We performed an Institutional Review Board (IRB) approved retrospective review of 44 patients treated with transperineal template-based ISBT from 2011 to 2017 at a major metropolitan county and university health system. All patients were treated with image-guided high-dose-rate ISBT. Statistical analysis was performed using the χ2 test to identify factors correlated with fistula formation. Survival and tumor control outcomes were calculated using Kaplan Meier analyses.

Patients had a mean age of 53 years (range, 28-81 years), a mean external beam dose of 43.1 Gy (range, 42.5-51.3 Gy), and a mean brachytherapy dose of 22.8 Gy (range, 21.3-30 Gy). Two of 44 patients had fistulas that could be definitively attributed to therapy for a fistula rate of 4.5%. Six additional patients (13.6%) developed fistula after treatment with associated recurrent disease but were included in the causality analysis. We analyzed patient tumor and treatment factors, and on univariate analyses we found that age ≥ 60 years, Hispanic ethnicity, bladder involvement, rectal D2 cc ≥ 70 Gy, and whether patients had post-radiation biopsies were predictors for fistula formation. The 1-year overall survival (OS), progression-free survival (PFS), and local control (LC) were 85%, 58.5%, and 76.9%, respectively, with a mean follow-up time 23 months (range, 4.0-68.8 months).

We identified factors that predict fistula formation in patients with advanced gynecologic tumors treated with ISBT. These factors can be used to stratify patients into a high-risk group, with potential for modification of brachytherapy planning to reduce their risk of fistula formation.


brachytherapy, fistula, vagina cancer

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