Brachytherapy 2016 May-Jun;15(3):341-346. Epub 2016 Mar 19.
Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX; Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX. Electronic address:
Purpose: Interstitial brachytherapy is an essential component of definitive treatment for locally advanced gynecological malignancies. Although many outpatient centers are capable of delivering the radiation component of brachytherapy, they are not associated with an operative center for implant placement, limiting the ability to deliver appropriate care. In this study, we report on our experience with noncolocated implant placement and radiation delivery, and the impact of patient stabilization improvements on patient safety.
Methods And Materials: Between 9/2010 and 11/2014, 25 patients with gynecologic malignancy underwent interstitial implantation and subsequent transport for high-dose-rate brachytherapy treatment. From 9/2010 to 10/2012, patients were transported using a standard ambulance stretcher; from 11/2012 to 11/2014, patients were placed on a patient positioning board or a WAFFLE support. Potential transport-associated toxicity was assessed, and the association between standard and augmented transport types and toxicity was analyzed.
Results: A total of 234 transports were performed. Median cost of transport was $150 per transport. There were 14 (10 patients) potential transportation-associated toxicities, including two lacerations/local trauma, three infections, and nine ulcers. There were 6 Grade 3 toxicities, all in the standard group. There was no association between stretcher type and laceration or ulcers, but enhanced support was associated with fewer overall toxicities, Grade 3 toxicities, and infections.
Conclusions: Noncolocated implantation and treatment is safe and facilitates optimal therapy. Toxicities potentially associated with transport are minimal and seem to be reduced by augmented stabilization. Understanding that this is a reasonable way to deliver brachytherapy may allow more stand-alone centers to deliver high-quality care for patients and improve gynecologic cancer outcomes in the United States.