Cervical Adenocarcinoma Has a Poorer Prognosis and a Higher Propensity for Distant Recurrence Than Squamous Cell Carcinoma

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We aimed to analyze the differences in prognosis and the pattern of recurrence between squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and adenocarcinoma (ADC) in patients with cervical cancer.


We retrospectively reviewed the medical records of 969 patients with SCC and 144 patients with ADC who underwent radical hysterectomy and pelvic lymph node dissection at the Busan Paik Hospital between January 1988 and December 2010.


Adenocarcinoma was associated with poorer disease-free survival (P = 0.0515) and overall survival (OS) (P = 0.0156) compared with SCC, and that this was more apparent for patients with International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics stages IIA to IIB disease. Subgroup analysis by prognostic factors for recurrence showed significant differences in the OS in the intermediate-risk subgroup (P = 0.0266), but not in the high-risk subgroup (P = 0.1674). Based on the metastatic pattern in patients with recurrence, ADC was associated with an increased risk for distant recurrence resulting from hematogenous spread compared with SCC (P < 0.0001), and patients with distant recurrence showed a worse OS (P = 0.0481) and survival after recurrence (P = 0.0016) than patients with locoregional or lymphatic recurrence. Multivariate analysis showed that ADC was a significant independent factor for poor disease-free survival (P = 0.0034) and OS (P = 0.0001).


Adenocarcinoma is associated with a poorer prognosis and a greater probability of distanat recurrence compared with SCC. Different therapeutic strategies for ADC need to be developed, and when considering the greater tendency for distant recurrence in patients with ADC, systemic chemotherapy may have a role in reducing the risk of hematogenous spread.

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