Surgery for Recurrent Uterine Cancer: Surgical Outcomes and Implications for Survival—A Case Series

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The purpose of this study was to describe the patterns of relapse in uterine cancer (UC) and the role of surgery in the recurrent setting.


We describe surgical and clinical outcomes of all patients who underwent surgery for recurrent UC in a gynecological oncology tertiary referral center between May 1, 2013, and April 30, 2016. Progression-free survival and overall survival were estimated using Kaplan-Meier methods with the surgery at relapse being the starting point.


We evaluated 15 patients with a median age of 66 years. The predominant histology was the endometrioid variant (n = 11; 73.3%). The median interval between the end of previous treatment and relapse surgery was 24 months (range, 8–164). Locoregional pelvic recurrences were the most common type of recurrence (n = 13; 86.7%) with the para-aortic lymph node space being the most commonly affected extrapelvic site (13%). Patients predominantly presented with a multifocal pattern of relapse (n = 10; 66.7%) requiring multivisceral resections such as bowel (n = 7; 46.6%) and/or bladder/ureteric resections (n = 8; 53.3%) to achieve complete tumor clearance. All patients were operated tumor free with a 30-day major morbidity and mortality rate of 6.7% and 0%, respectively. Five patients (33.3%) received postoperative chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Five patients (33.3%) relapsed, and 3 died within a mean follow-up of 12.4 months (95% confidence interval [CI], 6.5–18.2). Two of those patients had a sarcoma.


Mean progression-free survival and overall survival for the entire cohort postrelapse surgery was 21.7 months (95%CI, 13.9–29.5) and 26.0 months (95%CI, 18.4–33.7), respectively. Survival was significantly worse in patients with nonendometrioid histology (P < 0.0001).


Surgery for UC relapse seems feasible with acceptable morbidity and high complete resection rates despite the multifocal patterns of relapse in a selected group of patients in a reference center for gynecological cancers. Larger scale studies are warranted to establish the value of surgery at relapse for UC.

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