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New directions for radiation biology research in cancer of the uterine cervix.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, Stanford University School of Medicine, CA 94305-5105, USA.


A simplified model for tumorigenesis, locoregional growth, and metastases is proposed for carcinoma of the cervix. With the use of this model, four potential areas for future directions for radiobiologic-clinical research are identified. The first area concerns the influence of human papillomavirus infection and p53 mutations on tumor biology, with particular reference to radiosensitivity and metastatic potential. Research in this area should be most fruitful. The second area focuses on the influence of hypoxia on clinical outcome in carcinoma of the cervix. The use of selective hypoxic cell toxins (e.g., tirapazamine) for phase II testing in hypoxic tumors is recommended. The third area concerns the development and clinical confirmation of assays for the prediction of intrinsic tumor radiosensitivity (e.g., surviving fraction after 2 Gy) and normal tissue radiosensitivity. The need exists for more rapid assays so that their results can be available prior to institution of therapy. The influence of the intrinsic radiosensitivity of normal tissues (especially in patients who are heterozygotes for ataxia-telangiectasia and patients with autoimmune disease) may permit identification of those at increased risk for complications so that alternative, less toxic treatment can be allocated. The fourth area for additional study concerns the influence of both intrinsic (c-myc amplification, matrix metalloproteinase levels) and extrinsic factors (fever, immunosuppression) on the development of distant metastases. Such investigations will permit identification of patients at high risk of developing distant metastases so that adjuvant treatments (e.g., chemotherapy or metalloproteinase inhibitors) can be explored. It is believed that future clarification of our proposed model will lead to other worthwhile areas for therapeutic intervention.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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