The last five years has been an exciting time in cervical cancer research and prevention. First, the 9-strain vaccine was approved in 2014 for use in girls and boys age 9-26. This is an improvement from the 4-strain vaccine. It will cover more strains of HPV that can cause cervical dysplasia and cancer, and has the potential to reduce dysplasia and cancer by more than 99 percent.
Next, there are some exciting trials focused on surgical management of cervical cancer. The standard surgery for cervical cancer currently involves a radical hysterectomy, where the tissue surrounding the cervix is removed. This procedure, although it can cure cervical cancer, has more complications than a routine hysterectomy. Researchers are currently exploring less invasive surgical options and possible treatment with chemotherapy prior to surgery to reduce these risks. More to come!
Several trials are exploring the addition of chemotherapy to radiation for treatment of advanced cervical cancer. Additional chemotherapy agents are being added to current treatments to improve survival and reduce the risk of recurrence. These trials have shown some promise and we are looking forward to their results. Less toxic chemotherapy regimens are also being explored.
Treatments that target specific aspects of cancer cells have been a focus in cervical cancer research as well. The addition of bevacizumab (Avastin) to chemotherapy has improved the survival for women with advanced or metastatic cervical cancer. New immunotherapy treatments, including Activated T-Cells, therapeutic vaccines, and immune checkpoint inhibitors, have shown promise in smaller trials and are moving on to larger clinical trials.
Researchers across the country and the world are actively looking for better treatments and cures for cervical cancer. In order to find new treatments, clinical trials are needed. Sometimes a clinical trial may be right for you. Ask your doctor about any trials that you may be eligible for. It may not only help you, but help other women in Kentucky, in the U.S., and in the world.
Learn more about clinical trials at UofL James Graham Brown Cancer Center by visiting https://uoflbrowncancercenter.org/clinical-trials.
Ozair, S et al. Advances in Cervical Cancer. Oncology Times: December 25th, 2016 – Volume 38 – Issue 24 – p 1,5–6