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Impact of surgical staging in women with locally advanced cervical cancer

B A Goff, H G Muntz, P J Paley, H K Tamimi, W J Koh, B E Greer
Gynecologic Oncology 1999, 74 (3): 436-42

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of surgical staging in the treatment and outcome of women with locally advanced cervical cancer.

METHODS: Ninety-eight women with locally advanced cervical cancer treated between 1993 and 1997 were retrospectively reviewed. Survival probabilities were calculated by the Kaplan-Meier product limit method and compared with the log-rank test.

RESULTS: Of the 98 women treated over the 5-year period, 86 were surgically staged: 61 by a retroperitoneal approach, 18 by laparoscopy, and 7 by laparotomy. Median blood loss was 120 cc and median length of hospitalization was 3 days. Preoperative CT scans (n = 55), when compared with surgical findings, missed macroscopic nodal disease in 20% and microscopic disease in 15% and overcalled disease in 10% of cases. Lymph node metastases were found in 45/86 patients (52%): 12 microscopic and 33 macroscopic. The highest level of nodes found to be involved was pelvic in 23, common iliac nodes in 3, para-aortic nodes in 14, and scalene nodes in 5 cases. Of the 86 patients, 49 received pelvic radiation, 27 received extended field radiation, and 10 were identified for palliative treatment only (5 scalene node metastasis, 5 extensive intraperitoneal disease). For node-negative patients, 5-year survival was 74%; for microscopic nodal involvement it was 58%; and for macroscopic involvement it was 39% (P = 0.007). Five-year survival for women with para-aortic node involvement was 52%. Number of nodes involved was a significant prognostic variable (P = 0.008). Patients who received chemotherapy had a 5-year survival of 68% compared to 35% for those who did not (P = 0.06). Factors which did not affect survival included age, histology, type of surgery, stage, and type of radiation (pelvic vs extended).

CONCLUSION: Surgical staging of women with locally advanced cervical cancer can be performed with acceptable morbidity and it provided more accurate information than CT scans and resulted in a modification of the standard pelvic radiation field for 43% of our patients. The information obtained from surgical staging allows better individualization of therapy, which may improve overall clinical outcome.

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