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Cervical Cancer Treatment (PDQ®)

Stage IA Cervical Cancer Treatment

Standard Treatment Options for Stage IA1 Cervical Cancer

Standard treatment options for stage IA1 cervical cancer include the following:


If the depth of invasion is less than 3 mm, no vascular or lymphatic channel invasion is noted, and the margins of the cone are negative, conization alone may be appropriate in patients who wish to preserve fertility.[1]

Total hysterectomy

If the depth of invasion is less than 3 mm, which is proven by cone biopsy with clear margins,[2] no vascular or lymphatic channel invasion is noted, and the frequency of lymph-node involvement is sufficiently low, lymph-node dissection at the time of hysterectomy is not required. Oophorectomy is optional and should be deferred for younger women.

Standard Treatment Options for Stage IA2 Cervical Cancer

Standard treatment options for stage IA2 cervical cancer include the following:

Modified radical hysterectomy with lymphadenectomy

For patients with tumor invasion between 3 mm and 5 mm, modified radical hysterectomy with pelvic-node dissection has been recommended because of a reported risk of lymph-node metastasis of as much as 10%.[2] Radical hysterectomy with node dissection may also be considered for patients for whom the depth of tumor invasion was uncertain because of invasive tumor at the cone margins.

Other Treatment Options

Radical trachelectomy

Patients with stages IA2 to IB disease who desire future fertility may be candidates for radical trachelectomy. In this procedure, the cervix and lateral parametrial tissues are removed, and the uterine body and ovaries are maintained. Most centers utilize the following criteria for patient selection:

  • Desire for future pregnancy.
  • Age younger than 40 years.
  • Presumed stage IA2 to IB1 disease and a lesion size no greater than 2 cm.
  • Preoperative magnetic resonance imaging that shows a margin from the most distal edge of the tumor to the lower uterine segment.
  • Squamous, adenosquamous, or adenocarcinoma cell types.

Intraoperatively, the patient is assessed in a manner similar to a radical hysterectomy; the procedure is aborted if more advanced disease than expected is encountered. The margins of the specimen are also assessed at the time of surgery, and a radical hysterectomy is performed if inadequate margins are obtained.[3-7]

Intracavitary radiation therapy

Intracavitary radiation therapy is a treatment option when palliative treatment is appropriate because of other medical conditions and for women who are not surgical candidates.

If the depth of invasion is less than 3 mm and no capillary lymphatic space invasion is noted, and the frequency of lymph-node involvement is sufficiently low, external-beam radiation therapy is not required. One or two insertions with tandem and ovoids for 6,500 mg to 8,000 mg hours (100–125 Gy vaginal surface dose) are recommended.[8]

Current Clinical Trials

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with stage IA cervical cancer. The list of clinical trials can be further narrowed by location, drug, intervention, and other criteria.

General information about clinical trials is also available from the NCI Web site.


  1. Sevin BU, Nadji M, Averette HE, et al.: Microinvasive carcinoma of the cervix. Cancer 70 (8): 2121-8, 1992. [PUBMED Abstract]
  2. Jones WB, Mercer GO, Lewis JL Jr, et al.: Early invasive carcinoma of the cervix. Gynecol Oncol 51 (1): 26-32, 1993. [PUBMED Abstract]
  3. Covens A, Shaw P, Murphy J, et al.: Is radical trachelectomy a safe alternative to radical hysterectomy for patients with stage IA-B carcinoma of the cervix? Cancer 86 (11): 2273-9, 1999. [PUBMED Abstract]
  4. Dargent D, Martin X, Sacchetoni A, et al.: Laparoscopic vaginal radical trachelectomy: a treatment to preserve the fertility of cervical carcinoma patients. Cancer 88 (8): 1877-82, 2000. [PUBMED Abstract]
  5. Plante M, Renaud MC, Hoskins IA, et al.: Vaginal radical trachelectomy: a valuable fertility-preserving option in the management of early-stage cervical cancer. A series of 50 pregnancies and review of the literature. Gynecol Oncol 98 (1): 3-10, 2005. [PUBMED Abstract]
  6. Shepherd JH, Spencer C, Herod J, et al.: Radical vaginal trachelectomy as a fertility-sparing procedure in women with early-stage cervical cancer-cumulative pregnancy rate in a series of 123 women. BJOG 113 (6): 719-24, 2006. [PUBMED Abstract]
  7. Wethington SL, Cibula D, Duska LR, et al.: An international series on abdominal radical trachelectomy: 101 patients and 28 pregnancies. Int J Gynecol Cancer 22 (7): 1251-7, 2012. [PUBMED Abstract]
  8. Grigsby PW, Perez CA: Radiotherapy alone for medically inoperable carcinoma of the cervix: stage IA and carcinoma in situ. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 21 (2): 375-8, 1991. [PUBMED Abstract]
  • Updated: April 17, 2015