Extended duration of dilator use beyond 1 year may reduce vaginal stenosis after intravaginal high-dose-rate brachytherapy

Academic Article


  • Background: Vaginal dilators (VD) are recommended following vaginal or pelvic radiotherapy for patients with endometrial carcinoma (EC) to prevent vaginal stenosis (VS). The time course of VS is not fully understood and the optimal duration of VD use is unknown. Methods: We reviewed 243 stage IA–II EC patients who received adjuvant brachytherapy (BT) at an academic tertiary referral center. Patients were instructed to use their VD three times per week for at least 1-year duration. The primary outcome was development of grade ≥ 1 VS using CTCAEv4 criteria during the follow-up period. The log-rank test and multivariable Cox proportional hazards modeling were used to evaluate the effect of VD use (noncompliance vs. standard compliance [up to 1 year] vs. extended compliance [over 1 year]) on VS. Results: The median follow-up was 15.2 months over the 5-year study period. At 15 months, the incidence of VS was 38.8% for noncompliant patients, 33.5% for those with standard compliance, and 21.4% for those with extended compliance (median time to grade ≥ 1 VS was 17.5 months, 26.7 months, and not yet reached for these groups, respectively). On multivariable Cox regression analysis, extended compliance remained a significant predictor of reduced VS risk when compared to both noncompliance (HR 0.38, 95% CI 0.18–0.80, p = 0.012) and standard compliance (HR 0.43, 95% CI 0.20–0.89, p = 0.023). Conclusions: The risk of VS persists beyond 1 year after BT. Extended VD compliance beyond 1 year may mitigate this risk.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Stahl JM; Qian JM; Tien CJ; Carlson DJ; Chen Z; Ratner ES; Park HS; Damast S
  • Start Page

  • 1425
  • End Page

  • 1433
  • Volume

  • 27
  • Issue

  • 4