Local tumour control in women with carcinoma of the cervix treated with the addition of nitroimidazole agents to radiotherapy: a meta-analysis
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The purpose of this paper was to estimate the effect of nitroimidazoles on the local control and overall survival of women receiving radiotherapy for carcinoma of the cervix. Sources searched included Medline, Cancerlit and national cancer organizations. Proceedings of meetings were hand-searched. Trial selection and quality score were performed in duplicate. Data extraction was performed by a single author. Five trials involving 849 patients were included. Median follow-up was typically 4 years or greater. The odds ratio (OR) for local recurrence did not demonstrate a significant effect (OR: 1.14; 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.78-1.66). The difference in mortality was also non-significant (OR: 1.26; 95% CI: 0.95-1.66). A significant increase in neuropathy was found (OR: 3.21; 95% CI: 1.36-7.55). Subgroup analysis did not reveal any sources of heterogeneity between trials. Despite five published randomized trials, evidence supporting the use of nitroimidazoles in the treatment of cervical cancer is lacking. Meta-analysis revealed no significant effect on local tumour control with a weak, non-significant trend suggesting a decrease in overall survival. There is, however, a significant increase in the rate of neurotoxicity with the use of these compounds. This overview can not support the use of these agents.
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