2014, Vol 12, No 2
Polish clinical practice guideline on hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) with cytoreductive surgery in peritoneal malignancy treatment
CURR. GYNECOL. ONCOL. 2014, 12 (2), p. 86–97
DOI: 10.15557/CGO.2014.0009

The management of peritoneal surface malignancy is a significant clinical problem in oncology. It was demonstrated that the combination of complete cytoreductive surgery with hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) may lead to long-term control of the disease or improved survival in selected patients. The aim of this paper was to present the optimal indications and technical guidelines for performing HIPEC in Poland. The application of this method requires experience of a multidisciplinary team of physicians (gynecologic oncologist, surgeon and clinical oncologist), availability of diagnostic and therapeutic resources (intensive care unit) as well as a dedicated perfusion system. A crucial aspect for obtaining optimal treatment outcomes is the selection of patients. Such a selection takes place both at the beginning of treatment and intraoperatively. The initial selection of patients qualified for HIPEC includes ruling out extraperitoneal spread of cancer and metastases to the liver (single resectable liver metastases in patients with colorectal carcinoma are not contraindications) and lungs. According to current international guidelines, the HIPEC procedure is a standard treatment in patients with ovarian carcinoma that metastasizes to the peritoneum, in colorectal cancer, when PCI <20 and in patients with peritoneal mesothelioma or pseudomyxoma peritonei as well as in patients with gastric cancer.

Keywords: hyperthermic intraperitoneal perfusion chemotherapy (HIPEC), recommendations, indications, contraindications
The value of gynecologic cancer follow-up: single institution experience in Slovakia
CURR. GYNECOL. ONCOL. 2014, 12 (2), p. 98–114
DOI: 10.15557/CGO.2014.0010

Background: A routine follow-up is standard medical practice in patients treated for gynecologic cancer. Objectives of the follow-up are: 1) to detect recurrence as soon as possible and therefore improve the survival of patients with recurrence; 2) to diagnose complications related to treatment; 3) to provide psychological support and 4) to participate in scientific studies. The aim of our study was to compare the survival differences between asymptomatic and symptomatic patients at the time of relapse. Method: Retrospective cohort analysis. Results: All women diagnosed and treated for vulvar, cervical, endometrial and ovarian cancer at our institution between 2003 and 2012 were included in this retrospective study. We identified 59 patients with vulvar cancer, 216 with cervical cancer, 311 with endometrial cancer and 177 with ovarian cancer. The median survival time after recurrence between symptomatic and asymptomatic patients was in vulvar cancer 22 vs. 27 months (p = 0.181), in cervical cancer 10 vs. 13 months (p = 0.123), in endometrial cancer 19 vs. 30 months (p = 0.265) and in ovarian cancer 19 vs. 18 months (p = 0.861). Conclusions: There was no survival difference between asymptomatic and symptomatic patients at the time of relapse. Follow-up may become effective if the procedures are adapted to other aims of routine practice (e.g. psychosocial care and monitoring adverse effects of treatment). The development of follow-up care is a dynamic process, especially in the light of the continuous development of new medical technologies.

Keywords: follow-up, survival, cancer, endometrial, ovarian, cervical, vulvar, recurrence
Influence of selected individual clinical factors on reproducibility of radiation fields in patients treated due to gynecologic cancers
CURR. GYNECOL. ONCOL. 2014, 12 (2), p. 115–124
DOI: 10.15557/CGO.2014.0011

Introduction: Accurate reproducibility of the radiation field in all stages of radiotherapy is the basic condition for curing cancer permanently while preserving vital surrounding tissues and organs. The progress in information technology has made it possible to replace time-consuming and less accurate portal imaging that uses radiograms with electronic systems for recording and processing images of the radiation beam. Such devices detect possible geometric errors more effectively and enable their verification even during a single radiation fraction. The fact that the precision and individualization of contemporary radiotherapy is aimed at as well as new technical possibilities motivated the authors to search for individual patient-related factors that influence the reproducibility of radiation fields in individual radiotherapy sessions. Aim: The aim of the paper was to assess the influence of selected individual clinical factors on the reproducibility of the radiation field in patients treated due to gynecologic cancers. Material: The material comprised 88 patients with cervical and endometrial cancers in FIGO stages I, II and III, treated in the Department of Teleradiotherapy of Maria Skłodowska-Curie Memorial Cancer Center and Institute of Oncology in Warsaw, Poland. The radiotherapies conducted were radical, primary and adjuvant following previous surgical treatment. Method: Patients received irradiation according to the treatment plans with 6 and 15 MeV X-ray photons with a total dose of 45–60 Gy, 1.5–2.5 Gy in 12–39 (mean 25) fractions. In order to compare patient set-up accuracy with the reference positioning stored in the Vision system, verification images were made during subsequent radiation fractions with the use of electronic portal imaging system from the PA 0° and lateral 90° directions of radiation beams. Differences in relation to the reference images in three directions were compared and entered into tables. The reaction threshold was assumed when the differences between the simulator images and portal images in any of the examined directions were >7 mm. Then, following an error analysis, set-up was verified and corrected simultaneously (online). The size of displacement with respect to the reference image and the mean displacement value were specified in every patient for each of the three directions. For the purposes of the statistical analysis, a displacement vector was determined that expressed total displacement of a patient during radiotherapy with respect to the reference images. A description of the studied group of patients based on clinical features was presented in the table. It includes the performance status, body mass index, diagnosis, stage of the disease, data concerning combination treatment with radiotherapy, including previous surgical treatment and chemotherapy, as well as aggravation of early radiation reactions of the urinary bladder and intestine. The authors analyzed the influence of the selected individual clinical factors on the reproducibility of the radiation field, which was expressed with the displacement vector. The chi-square test of dependence was used to assess correlations between the value of the displacement vector and the aforementioned clinical and pathological features. The level of statistical significance of p = 0.05 referred to all comparisons. Results: The analysis involved 382 portal images that verified patient set-up, based on which a total of 1528 measurements were performed according to the above mentioned principles. For each analyzed patient, the value of the displacement vector was calculated. The mean value for all patients was 0.44 (0.02–1.82, standard deviation 0.27). The chi-square test of dependence revealed a statistically significant influence of obesity expressed as the body mass index (BMI) (p = 0.003), presence of early intestinal radiation reactions (p = 0.034) and previous surgical treatment (p = 0.046) on worse reproducibility of radiation fields expressed as the value of the displacement vector. Conclusions: Obesity expressed as the body mass index (BMI) ≥30.0, presence of acute intestinal radiation reactions during radiotherapy and surgical treatment conducted at the first stage of treatment deteriorate the reproducibility of the radiation field in a statistically significant way in patients treated due to gynecologic cancers.

Keywords: portal imaging, set-up verification, geometric errors, quality control, pelvic radiotherapy
Surgical therapy and exenteration for advanced cervical cancer – literature review
CURR. GYNECOL. ONCOL. 2014, 12 (2), p. 125–139
DOI: 10.15557/CGO.2014.0012

While the surgical technique of exenteration has been around for 60 years now, recent progress in the development of reconstructive surgery has created new opportunities for gastrointestinal and urinary tract anastomosis. As pre- and postoperative care has improved and indications for the exenteration procedure have became more precise, the outcomes of the treatment for advanced malignant pelvic tumors have also improved. Consequently, the perioperative mortality rate has decreased from the 28% specified by Brunschwig to the present rate of 3%. Moreover, the number of complications resulting from such complex procedures has decreased. Today, postoperative complications are no longer a factor that impacts how eligibility for exenteration is decided. It has been demonstrated that the quality of life of patients subject to exenteration procedure compared to those having palliative chemotherapy is lower in the first months following surgery, but is higher in the long-term follow-up beginning 9 months after the procedure. At the same time, multiple studies have unambiguously demonstrated that the overall five-year survival rate in patients with cervical cancer recurrence after radiation therapy is the longest upon exenteration and, subject to strict following of the indications for the procedure, allows a survival rate of 50% to be exceeded in this group of patients. Since the exenteration procedure is the culmination of a combined treatment, eligibility for such a procedure should entail multiple factors related to the course of treatment and the biology of a given neoplasm and should be decided only by an interdisciplinary team composed of at least a radiation therapist, a gynecologist-oncologist, and a clinical oncologist. Also, surgery of this kind is of a disciplinary nature therefore the procedure should be performed only in a reference site employing gynecologists, oncologists, urologists, and oncological surgeons who have comprehensive surgical experience. Only sites that employ such health care professionals allow for the safe performance of the exenteration procedure.

Keywords: cervical cancer, exenteration, cervical cancer recurrence, para-aortic lymphadenectomy, “empty pelvis” syndrome
Limitations in the treatment of ovarian carcinoma
CURR. GYNECOL. ONCOL. 2014, 12 (2), p. 140–154
DOI: 10.15557/CGO.2014.0013

Removal of all foci of ovarian carcinoma during the first surgery considerably improves overall survival. Obtaining complete cytoreduction is not, however, possible in each case. When the procedure is performed in a referral center, complete cytoreduction is obtained in as many as 75–90% of patients. A lot of recent studies indicate that experience of the physician who performs the first procedure affects the degree of cytoreduction. Moreover, the experience of the center in which treatment is started also influences overall survival. Therefore, one might contribute to the improvement of the therapy outcome by refining one’s surgical skills. The experience of a surgeon is essential in resecting metastatic foci in sites such as the hepatoduodenal ligament, omental foramen, splenic recess of the peritoneum, superior omental recess, splenic hilum, tail of the pancreas as well as areas of the diaphragmatic and renal vessels. For a procedure to be effective, it must involve the entire peritoneum with all its recesses. The essential elements of the procedure which decide about the degree of cytoreduction are: 1) removing the rectum and peritoneum of the lower recess (modified posterior exenteration); 2) resection of the ovarian vessels and para-aortic lymphadenectomy; 3) removing the peritoneum of the diaphragm and partial resection of the diaphragm; 4) fragmentary resection of the gastrointestinal tract; 5) splenectomy with resection of foci in the lesser sac. The paper presents anatomic limitations that affect surgical treatment of ovarian carcinoma in these regions.

Keywords: complete cytoreductive surgery, ovarian carcinoma, para-aortic lymphadenectomy, splenectomy, modified posterior exenteration
Communication with the cancer patient’s family
CURR. GYNECOL. ONCOL. 2014, 12 (2), p. 155–171
DOI: 10.15557/CGO.2014.0014

Most physicians’ working time is filled communicating with their patients – talking, listening, responding to their needs. The communication is aimed at identifying the patient’s medical, social and psychological circumstances. Understanding all these aspects allows to perceive the patient as a person. Communication is the exchange of information, but also everything that occurs between people communicating at a given moment, including the mutual impressions, the mutual sense of being heard and understood, being on a “similar wavelength,” or emotional distance. We communicate to explain things to one another, to share information, to make a shared decision or arrangement, or to negotiate things. When we think about the messages we convey and the way we convey them, we think about the information the message includes, its sense, the emotions it may evoke, its resonance in the patient’s individual circumstances. On the side of the “sender” i.e. the doctor, the quality of the communication depends on their knowledge of both oncology and psychology facts, the skill of forming a message, the ability to keep the right balance between distance and involvement, and adjusting feedback information. On the side of the “receiver,” i.e. the patient and their family, the communication is affected by the common myths and presumptions surrounding the disease, the knowledge of medical facts, communication skills, message decoding process – the interpretation, evaluation, response and the attitude of the patient towards the disease and its treatment, the emotional inclination of the patient and their family. From the very beginning of the diagnostic process, the patients and their relatives seek information on the disease and available treatment, support resources for the patient, emotional help and support for the family.

Keywords: communicative functions, verbal and nonverbal communication, feedback information, sharing difficult information
Does a non-imaging gynecologic examination ensure a correct determination of the clinical stage in uterine cervical cancer? Based on a case study
CURR. GYNECOL. ONCOL. 2014, 12 (2), p. 172–178
DOI: 10.15557/CGO.2014.0015

The most common classification for uterine cervical cancer staging is based on the guidelines of the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO). A bimanual examination is performed in order to evaluate the clinical stage of uterine cervical cancer, and thus to select a treatment method. In the case of difficulties in performing the examination, such as increased tenderness, general anesthesia should be used. Imaging studies such as, for example, computed tomography (CT), ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or PET-CT have not been incorporated into FIGO staging. One advantage of this classification is its applicability in any health center, although it is characterized by a rather high inconsistency with the actual state. The paper presents a case study of a patient diagnosed with uterine cervical cancer as well as the difficulty in assessing disease progression when based on FIGO classification. The patient was initially excluded from surgical treatment due to a palpable parametrial infiltration, which was later found to be imitated by a cyst containing some elements, most likely of bone origin, as revealed by a CT scan. Therefore, the patient received surgical treatment and subsequent chemoradiation. An incorrect FIGO-based assignment of the clinical stage in patients with uterine cervical cancer may lead to inappropriate therapeutic decisions, even in the setting of a multidisciplinary team with extensive experience. Therefore, it is necessary to perform imaging procedures, depending on the capabilities of a healthcare facility (abdominal and small pelvis MRI or CT), before reaching a final decision. When there are other accompanying pathological lesions present within the pelvis, the bimanual examination may fail to correctly assess cervical cancer progression.

Keywords: cervical cancer, FIGO, gynecologic examination, MRI, imaging examination, CT