Development of the M. D. Anderson cancer center gynecologic applicators for the treatment of cervical cancer: Historical analysis

John S. Yordy, Peter R. Almond, Luis Delclos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


Purpose: To provide historical background on the development and initial studies of the gynecological (gyn) applicators developed by Dr. Gilbert H. Fletcher, a radiation oncologist and chairperson from 1948 to 1981 of the department at the M.D. Anderson Hospital (MDAH) for Cancer Research in Houston, TX, and to acknowledge the previously unrecognized contribution that Dr. Leonard G. Grimmett, a radiation physicist and chairperson from 1949 to 1951 of the physics department at MDAH, made to the development of the gynecological applicators. Methods and Materials: We reviewed archival materials from the Historical Resource Center and from the Department of Radiation Physics at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, as well as contemporary published papers, to trace the history of the applicators. Conclusions: Dr. Fletcher's work was influenced by the work on gynecologic applicators in the 1940s in Europe, especially work done at the Royal Cancer Hospital in London. Those efforts influenced not only Dr. Fletcher's approach to the design of the applicators but also the methods used to perform in vivo measurements and determine the dose distribution. Much of the initial development of the dosimetry techniques and measurements at MDAH were carried out by Dr. Grimmett.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1445-1453
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 15 2012



  • Brachytherapy dosimetry
  • Cervical cancer
  • Gynecologic applicators

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research

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