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Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2000 Jan;79(1):72-6.

The case for completing the lymphadenectomy when positive lymph nodes are found during radical hysterectomy for cervical carcinoma.

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Department of Gynecology, Leiden University Medical Center, The Netherlands.



In the present study we report on the results of a retrospective study on the effect on survival of the pelvic lymphadenectomy in a group of 294 patients with stage Ia2-IIa cervical carcinoma treated by radical hysterectomy from 1984 through 1996 at the Leiden University Medical Center.


Lymphadenectomy was called 'complete' when lymph node bearing tissue had been removed from 5 or 6 lymph node stations and 'not-complete' when this was the case in 1-4 stations.


A radical hysterectomy was carried out in 294 patients. In 63 patients positive lymph nodes were found. Patients with positive nodes showed poorer 5 year survival: 64.5% compared to 90% in patients with negative nodes. In the univariate analysis the following factors were found to affect the presence of node metastases in a statistically significant way: age, tumor size, depth of infiltration, vaso-invasion, surgical margins, parametrial infiltration, stage and place of referral. In 63 patients with positive nodes, a complete lymphadenectomy was carried out in 23 patients, and in 40 patients the procedure was incomplete. All 63 patients were treated by adjuvant radiation therapy; those with complete lymphadenectomy had significantly less recurrences (25%) compared to those with incomplete lymphadenectomy (56%): the relative risk (RR) was 2.9 (95% ci: 1.3-6.7), p=0.012. After adjustment for other prognostic factors including tumor size, depth of infiltration and parametrial involvement, the complete lymphadenectomy showed an independent effect on disease free survival: RR= 3.2 (95% ci: 1.3-7.7), p=0.011. Prognostic factors were not significantly different for patients with complete or incomplete lymphadenectomy.


From the results of this study, although retrospective and non randomized, it can be concluded that to complete removal of lymph nodes in combination with radical hysterectomy seems to have a beneficial effect on prognosis in case of positive nodes. The policy of aborting the procedure when lymph node metastases are found in frozen section should be questioned.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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