Seeing is saving: The benefit of 3D imaging in gynecologic brachytherapy

Akila N. Viswanathan, Beth A. Erickson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Despite a concerning decline in the use of brachytherapy over the past decade, no other therapy is able to deliver a very high dose of radiation into or near a tumor, with a rapid fall-off of dose to adjacent structures. Compared to traditional X-ray-based brachytherapy that relies on points, the use of CT and MR for 3D planning of gynecologic brachytherapy provides a much more accurate volume-based calculation of dose to an image-defined tumor and to the bladder, rectum, sigmoid, and other pelvic organs at risk (OAR) for radiation complications. The publication of standardized guidelines and an online contouring teaching atlas for performing 3D image-based brachytherapy has created a universal platform for communication and training. This has resulted in a uniform approach to using image-guided brachytherapy for treatment and an internationally accepted format for reporting clinical outcomes. Significant improvements in survival and reductions in toxicity have been reported with the addition of image guidance to increase dose to tumor and decrease dose to the critical OAR. Future improvements in individualizing patient treatments should include a more precise definition of the target. This will allow dose modulation based on the amount of residual disease visualized on images obtained at the time of brachytherapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)207-215
Number of pages9
JournalGynecologic oncology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Brachytherapy
  • CT
  • Cervical cancer
  • Image-guidance
  • MRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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