Pelvic lymphadenectomy as alternative to postoperative radiotherapy in high risk early stage endometrial cancer

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The purpose of the study is to evaluate whether surgery followed by radiotherapy in high-risk patients of early stage endometrial cancer can be replaced by formal surgical staging. Cancer-related survival and recurrence-free survival (RFS) were the endpoints of the analysis.

Study design:

One hundred and eighteen patients with endometrioid endometrial adenocarcinoma between 1996-2003 were reviewed. Patients with incomplete follow-up and extrauterine spread excluded, leaving 78 women in the final analysis. Low-risk patients (n=37) (Grade 1, myometrial infiltration <1/2 or Grade2, <1/3), treated by standard surgical procedure including total abdominal hysterectomy, bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy and peritoneal washing, while staging lymphadenectomy (n=24) or postoperative irradiation (n=17) was added in the high-risk group (Grade 1, >1/2 or Grade 2, >1/3 or Grade3). Results: The median age of patients was 65 years (range, 35-80 years) and the median follow-up 38 months (range, 9-98 months). The recurrence rate in low-risk patients was 2.7%, the cancer-related survival 97.5% and RFS 97%, while in the high-risk patients 12%, 93% and 88%, respectively. Comparing the therapeutic modalities (staging lymphadenectomy vs. postoperative irradiation) in the high-risk group the cancer-related survival and RFS was not differed (P=0.70, P=0.90, respectively). The high grade of the tumor was significantly correlated with RFS, while age, stage and myometrial infiltration were not. No moderate or severe complications developed after lymphadenectomy, while two moderate gastrointestinal complications occurred after adjuvant radiotherapy. Conclusion: According our results the low-risk patients of early stage endometrial adenocarcinoma had excellent survival with minimal intervention. The cancer-related survival and RFS in high-risk patients concerning the therapeutic modalities were comparable. Poor tumor differentiation was the most unfavorable prognostic factor related with RFS. Moderate complications developed only after postoperative radiotherapy.

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