External beam techniques to boost cervical cancer when brachytherapy is not an option—theories and applications
The management of locally advanced cervical cancer relies on brachytherapy (BT) as an integral part of the radiotherapy delivery armamentarium. Occasionally, intracavitary BT is neither possible nor available. In these circumstances, post-external beam radiotherapy (EBRT) interstitial brachytherapy and/or hysterectomy may represent viable options that must be adequately executed in a timely manner. However, if these options are not applicable due to patient related or facility related reasons, a formal contingency plan should be in place. Innovative EBRT techniques such as intensity modulated and stereotactic radiotherapy may be considered for patients unable to undergo brachytherapy. Relying on provocative arguments and recent data, this review explores the rationale for and limitations of non-brachytherapy substitutes in that setting aiming to establish a formal process for the optimal execution of this alternative plan.