Localized delivery of chemotherapy to the cervix for radiosensitization

Lucy S. Hodge, Levi S. Downs, Justin C. Chura, Sajeena G. Thomas, Patrick S. Callery, A. Patrick Soisson, Paul Kramer, Stephen S. Wolfe, Timothy S. Tracy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Objective: Chemoradiation is the mainstay of therapy for advanced cervical cancer, with the most effective treatment regimens involving combinations of radiosensitizing agents. However, administration of radiosensitizing chemotherapeutics concurrently with pelvic radiation is not without side effects. The aim of this study was to examine the utility of localized drug delivery as a means of improving drug targeting of radiosensitizing chemotherapeutics to the cervix while limiting systemic toxicities. Methods: An initial proof-of-concept study was performed in 14 healthy women following local administration of diazepam utilizing a novel cervical delivery device (CerviPrep™). Uterine vein and peripheral blood samples were collected and diazepam was measured using a GC-MS method. In the follow-up study, gemcitabine was applied to the cervix in 17 women undergoing hysterectomy for various gynecological malignancies. Cervical tissue, uterine vein blood samples, and peripheral plasma were collected, and gemcitabine and its deaminated metabolite 2′,2′-difluorodeoxyuridine (dFdU) were measured using HPLC-UV and LC/MS methods. Results: Targeted delivery of diazepam to the cervix was consistent with parent drug detectable in the uterine vein of 13 of 14 women. In the second study, pharmacologically relevant concentrations of gemcitabine (0.01-6.6 nmol/g tissue) were detected in the cervical tissue of 11 of 16 available specimens with dFdU measureable in 15 samples (0.04-8.8 nmol/g tissue). Neither gemcitabine nor its metabolites were detected in the peripheral plasma of any subject. Conclusions: Localized drug delivery to the cervix is possible and may be useful in limiting toxicity associated with intravenous administration of chemotherapeutics for radiosensitization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-125
Number of pages5
JournalGynecologic oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 2012


  • Carcinoma
  • Cervix
  • Drug delivery
  • Gemcitabine
  • Radiosensitization
  • Uterus


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