Stage IV Endometrial Cancer
Treatment of patients with stage IV endometrial cancer is dictated by the site of metastatic disease and symptoms related to disease sites. For bulky pelvic disease, radiation therapy consisting of a combination of intracavitary and external-beam radiation therapy is used. When distant metastases, especially pulmonary metastases, are present, hormonal therapy is indicated and useful. Observational studies support maximal cytoreductive surgery for patients with stage IV disease, although these conclusions need to be interpreted with care because of the small number of cases and likely selection bias.
When possible, patients with stage IV endometrial cancer are treated with surgery, followed by chemotherapy, or radiation therapy, or both. For many years, radiation therapy was the standard adjuvant treatment for patients with endometrial cancer. However, several randomized trials have confirmed improved survival when adjuvant chemotherapy is used instead of radiation therapy. In a trial conducted in a subset of patients with stage III or IV disease with residual tumors smaller than 2 cm and no parenchymal organ involvement, the use of the combination of cisplatin and doxorubicin resulted in improved overall survival (OS) compared with whole-abdominal radiation therapy (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.68; 95% confidence interval limits, 0.52–0.89; P = .02; 5-year survival rates of 55% vs. 42%).[Level of evidence: 1iiA]
In a subsequent trial, paclitaxel with doxorubicin had an outcome similar to that of cisplatin with doxorubicin.[2,3] The three-drug regimen (doxorubicin, cisplatin, and paclitaxel) with granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF), however, was significantly superior to cisplatin plus doxorubicin: response rates were 57% versus 34%; progression-free survival was 8.3 months versus 5.3 months; and OS was 15.3 months versus 12.3 months, respectively. The superior regimen was associated with a 12% grade 3 and a 27% grade 2 peripheral neuropathy.[2,3][Level of evidence: 1iiDiv]
Given the toxicity and limited efficacy of these regimens, other treatment options have been widely sought. Several observational studies [4,5] and phase II studies [6-9] suggested clinical activity with the combination of platinums and paclitaxel in endometrial cancer patients with measurable disease either following primary surgery or at recurrence. As a result, the Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG) opened protocol GOG-0209 (NCT000063999), a noninferiority trial that compared the combination of doxorubicin, cisplatin, and paclitaxel (TAP) and G-CSF with carboplatin and paclitaxel. The interim results, currently available in abstract form, showing that carboplatin and paclitaxel is not inferior to TAP have lent credence to the use of carboplatin and paclitaxel as the standard for adjuvant treatment in stage III and IV disease.
The most common hormonal treatment has been progestational agents, which produce good antitumor responses in as many as 15% to 30% of patients. These responses are associated with significant improvement in survival. Progesterone and estrogen hormone receptors have been identified in endometrial carcinoma tissues. Responses to hormones are correlated with the presence and level of hormone receptors and the degree of tumor differentiation. Standard progestational agents include hydroxyprogesterone, medroxyprogesterone, and megestrol.
Biologic agents under evaluation for patients with advanced and recurrent endometrial cancer include:
All patients with advanced disease should be considered for clinical trials that evaluate single-agent or combination therapy for this disease.
Current Clinical Trials
Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with stage IV endometrial carcinoma. 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.
- Randall ME, Filiaci VL, Muss H, et al.: Randomized phase III trial of whole-abdominal irradiation versus doxorubicin and cisplatin chemotherapy in advanced endometrial carcinoma: a Gynecologic Oncology Group Study. J Clin Oncol 24 (1): 36-44, 2006. [PUBMED Abstract]
- Fleming GF, Brunetto VL, Cella D, et al.: Phase III trial of doxorubicin plus cisplatin with or without paclitaxel plus filgrastim in advanced endometrial carcinoma: a Gynecologic Oncology Group Study. J Clin Oncol 22 (11): 2159-66, 2004. [PUBMED Abstract]
- Fleming GF, Filiaci VL, Bentley RC, et al.: Phase III randomized trial of doxorubicin + cisplatin versus doxorubicin + 24-h paclitaxel + filgrastim in endometrial carcinoma: a Gynecologic Oncology Group study. Ann Oncol 15 (8): 1173-8, 2004. [PUBMED Abstract]
- Arimoto T, Nakagawa S, Yasugi T, et al.: Treatment with paclitaxel plus carboplatin, alone or with irradiation, of advanced or recurrent endometrial carcinoma. Gynecol Oncol 104 (1): 32-5, 2007. [PUBMED Abstract]
- Sovak MA, Hensley ML, Dupont J, et al.: Paclitaxel and carboplatin in the adjuvant treatment of patients with high-risk stage III and IV endometrial cancer: a retrospective study. Gynecol Oncol 103 (2): 451-7, 2006. [PUBMED Abstract]
- Hoskins PJ, Swenerton KD, Pike JA, et al.: Paclitaxel and carboplatin, alone or with irradiation, in advanced or recurrent endometrial cancer: a phase II study. J Clin Oncol 19 (20): 4048-53, 2001. [PUBMED Abstract]
- Pectasides D, Xiros N, Papaxoinis G, et al.: Carboplatin and paclitaxel in advanced or metastatic endometrial cancer. Gynecol Oncol 109 (2): 250-4, 2008. [PUBMED Abstract]
- Nomura H, Aoki D, Takahashi F, et al.: Randomized phase II study comparing docetaxel plus cisplatin, docetaxel plus carboplatin, and paclitaxel plus carboplatin in patients with advanced or recurrent endometrial carcinoma: a Japanese Gynecologic Oncology Group study (JGOG2041). Ann Oncol 22 (3): 636-42, 2011. [PUBMED Abstract]
- Dimopoulos MA, Papadimitriou CA, Georgoulias V, et al.: Paclitaxel and cisplatin in advanced or recurrent carcinoma of the endometrium: long-term results of a phase II multicenter study. Gynecol Oncol 78 (1): 52-7, 2000. [PUBMED Abstract]
- Lentz SS: Advanced and recurrent endometrial carcinoma: hormonal therapy. Semin Oncol 21 (1): 100-6, 1994. [PUBMED Abstract]
- Aghajanian C, Sill MW, Darcy KM, et al.: Phase II trial of bevacizumab in recurrent or persistent endometrial cancer: a Gynecologic Oncology Group study. J Clin Oncol 29 (16): 2259-65, 2011. [PUBMED Abstract]
- Alvarez EA, Brady WE, Walker JL, et al.: Phase II trial of combination bevacizumab and temsirolimus in the treatment of recurrent or persistent endometrial carcinoma: a Gynecologic Oncology Group study. Gynecol Oncol 129 (1): 22-7, 2013. [PUBMED Abstract]