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Oncology (Williston Park). 2006 Jan;20(1):45-50; discussion 50, 53-4, 63.

Surgical staging in endometrial cancer.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35233-7333, USA.


Early presentation of endometrial cancer permits effective management with excellent clinical outcome. The addition of hysteroscopy to dilatation and curettage (D&C) in the evaluation of postmenopausal bleeding adds little to the detection of malignancy. Imaging studies such as computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, and positron-emission tomography may be of use in determining the presence of extrauterine disease in patients medically unfit for surgical staging. However, these studies are not sufficiently sensitive to replace surgical staging and have little role in routine preoperative evaluation. Clinical staging alone is clearly inadequate, as 23% of preoperative clinical stage I/II patients are upstaged with comprehensive surgical staging. Preoperative tumor grade from D&C or office biopsy may be inaccurate and lead to an underestimate of tumor progression if used to determine which patients should be surgically staged. Clinical estimation of depth of invasion, with or without frozen section, is inaccurate and may lead to underestimation of disease status when surgical staging is not performed. The practice of resecting only clinically suspicious nodes should be discouraged as it is no substitute for comprehensive surgical staging. Comprehensive surgical staging provides proper guidance for postoperative adjuvant therapy, avoiding needless radiation in 85% of clinical stage I/II patients. Finally, resection of occult metastasis with surgical staging may improve survival.

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