In major medical advancement, study finds additional chemo slashes risk of cervical cancer death

A group who got the additional chemotherapy survived longer, on average.

October 24, 2023, 3:29 PM

An already-approved chemotherapy drug could reduce the risk of dying of cervical cancer when added to the current treatment standard, according to new research presented at a major medical conference.

The study, presented at the European Society for Medical Oncology, followed 500 people, most of whom had "locally advanced" cervical cancer that hadn't yet spread to other body parts.

Half of the patients were treated with chemoradiation -- the current gold standard for treatment, researchers said. The other half were given combination therapy that included a pre-dose (or induction dose) of chemotherapy before every session of chemoradiation.

The study found that the group who got the additional chemotherapy survived longer, on average. After 5 years, 80% of these women were still alive, compared to 72% of those who got the standard treatment, according to the study.

PHOTO: Stock photo of a patient receiving chemotherapy.
STOCK PHOTO/Getty Images

Almost all patients in the study experienced some side effects consistent with these types of cancer treatments.

The researchers suggested that their new strategy of giving an early pre-dose of chemo, plus the standard combo of chemo and radiation, should become the new standard.

ABC News' medical correspondent Dr. Darien Sutton urged earlier screening and prevention for this type of cancer.

"The most important way to prevent this is via vaccination, against the Human papillomavirus, HPV, which, theoretically, most, if not all, will be exposed to," Sutton said on "GMA" Tuesday. "Getting vaccinated by this early and young will be one of the key ways to prevent this cancer."