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Papers of the Week

2022 Feb 09

Diagnostics (Basel)



Diagnostic Framework of Pelvic Massive Necrosis with Peritonitis following Chemoradiation for Locally Advanced Cervical Cancer: When Is the Surgery Not Demandable? A Case Report and Literature Review.


Concurrent platinum-based chemoradiation (CCRT) is the established treatment for locally advanced cervical cancer and has an acceptable toxicity. Radiation-induced necrosis of the uterus and pelvic tissue is a rare and usually late potential complication. Limited data are available about its management. Here, we describe a case of a patient affected by a locally advanced cervical cancer (stage IVA) who received CCRT, obtaining a partial response with persistence of bladder and rectal infiltration. Unfortunately, after the first brachytherapy dose, the patient developed a worsening clinical picture with fever and altered laboratory data indicative of sepsis; the computed tomography revealed a massive necrosis of the uterus with pelvic abscess and peritonitis. We performed a laparoscopic emergency surgery with removal of the necrotic tissue, supracervical hysterectomy, bilateral-oophorectomy, and abscess drainage. Thereafter, once the severe inflammatory condition was resolved, the patient underwent pelvic exenteration with palliative/curative intent. The postoperative PET/CT was negative for residual disease. However, the patient needed further hospitalization for re-occurrence of peritonitis with multiple abscesses. A careful diagnosis is crucial in locally advanced cervical cancer patients who, after CCRT, present persistent pain and problematic findings at imaging and laboratory parameters. In these cases, radiation-induced necrosis of the pelvis should be suspected. This case helps to clarify the central role of surgery, especially when actinic necrosis leads to complications such as abscess, fistulae, and extensive tissue destruction that cannot be conservatively medically handled. Laparoscopy represents an ideal approach to realizing the correct diagnosis, as well as enabling the performance of important therapeutic surgical procedures.