The incidence of endometrial carcinoma has been increasing annually in developed nations; it is currently the second most common gynecological malignancy. Although the majority of patients are diagnosed at an early stage, 15% to 20% reportedly recur; consequently, patients are usually followed clinically for 3 years after the initial curative surgery. We therefore aimed to determine the incidence and clinicopathological features of early and late recurrences of endometrial carcinoma after surgical resection.Materials and Methods
This retrospective study was performed using the clinical records of 2233 patients who underwent surgical resection for endometrial carcinoma between January 1970 and December 2009 at a single cancer center. Tumor recurrences were classified as early (<5 years) and late (>5 years) after initial surgery. Clinicopathological variables and tumor recurrence patterns were compared between the early and late recurrence groups. Survival analysis was performed using the Kaplan-Meier method.Results
Among 2233 study patients, 255 (11.4%) experienced endometrial carcinoma recurrence; of these, early and late recurrences occurred in 232 (91.0%) and 23 (9.0%) patients, respectively. Late recurrence was associated with invasion of less than half of the myometrium at diagnosis and the presence of histopathological features of endometrioid adenocarcinoma with low- or intermediate-grade histological subtype and absence of lymphovascular invasion. After recurrence, there was no significant difference in overall survival between the early and late recurrence groups (P = 0.437). Furthermore, surgical treatment was associated with a significantly improved prognosis in the late recurrence group (P = 0.044).Conclusions
The findings of this study indicated that patients who initially underwent successful treatment for low-grade and early-stage endometrial carcinoma should be followed clinically for more than 5 years. In cases of late recurrence, surgical management may improve prognosis.