Anal cancer brachytherapy: From radon seeds to interstitial Papillon technique in a century. What does the future hold?

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Evidence from studies which combined 2D-3D external beam radiotherapy (EBRT) ± chemotherapy with 2D brachytherapy (BT) for anal cancer suggest favorable outcomes when compared with chemo-EBRT alone. Further improvement of results can be expected in the era of intensity modulated EBRT and MRI-guided adaptive BT. Despite this, BT is not discussed as a therapeutic option in the prominent international guidelines and its use remains limited to selected institutions. Special skills, complexity, equipment, cost and reimbursement policies have been highlighted as barriers for its wider implementation. However, these factors are relevant for modern radiotherapy in general. Therefore, it can be argued that the role of BT as a component of chemoradiation should be redefined. We describe the historical evolution and current role of BT boost for anal cancer and outline its potential in the context of combined intensity modulated EBRT, chemotherapy and MRI-guided adaptive BT.

Original languageEnglish
JournalRadiotherapy and Oncology
Pages (from-to)25-34
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was completed without funding.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors

    Research areas

  • Anal cancer, Brachytherapy, Image guidance, Image guided brachytherapy, Interstitial brachytherapy

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