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  • Print publication year: 2011
  • Online publication date: August 2014

8 - Chemotherapy: principles and applications


This chapter lists the uses of chemotherapy in gynaecological oncology. In endometrial cancer, chemotherapy is used to treat advanced or relapsed cases where surgery and or radiotherapy are considered inappropriate, although hormone treatment is also used in these situations. In some situations, the intent of treatment may be curative, an example being trophoblastic tumours, while in others the intent is palliative, for example in recurrent epithelial ovarian cancer. In all situations, conventional chemotherapy used to kill tumour cells will also kill normal, healthy cells. This gives rise to treatment-related toxicity such as myelosuppression, emesis, alopecia and peripheral neuropathy. In general terms, until recently, the first-line therapy for cervical cancer was a choice between surgery and radiotherapy for early-stage disease with radiotherapy for advanced disease. The malignant non-epithelial tumours comprise mainly sex-cord stromal and germ-cell tumours. Of the sex-cord stromal tumours, granulosa cell tumours may require chemotherapy.

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