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Cancer. 2001 Nov 15;92(10):2562-8.

Systematic pelvic and aortic lymphadenectomy in elderly gynecologic oncologic patients.

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Department of Gynecology, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart of Rome, Rome, Italy.



Retroperitoneal lymph node dissection is a fundamental step in the surgical management of patients with pelvic gynecologic malignancies, but its applicability to geriatric patients is controversial. The objective of this study was to evaluate whether pelvic and aortic lymphadenectomy in elderly patients with gynecologic malignancies can be a safe procedure in terms of morbidity and mortality.


In a retrospective case-control study, the authors compared morbidity, mortality, and surgical data in a series of elderly patients (age > 70 years) with endometrial and ovarian carcinoma who underwent surgery. Patients were divided into two groups: Cases were 36 elderly patients who underwent surgery and pelvic and/or aortic lymphadenectomy and were matched with 72 controls, who were patients who underwent surgery without lymphadenectomy.


Cases showed a significantly longer median operative time than controls (median, 162 minutes [range, 85-330 minutes] vs. median, 100 minutes [range 20-310 minutes], respectively; P = 0.003). No significant difference between the two groups in terms of blood loss, blood transfusions, intraoperative complications, duration of ileus, reintervention required, or postoperative hospital stay were observed. One patient in the control group died. The type and frequency of severe postoperative complications in the two groups were not substantially different.


Pelvic and aortic lymphadenectomy was performed safely in elderly patients age > or = 70 years with endometrial and ovarian carcinoma without an increase in morbidity and mortality. Advanced chronologic age alone should not be considered a contraindication to full surgical treatment in these patients.

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