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      Efficacy of systematic pelvic lymphadenectomy in endometrial cancer (MRC ASTEC trial): a randomised study

      The writing committee on behalf of the ASTEC study group

      Lancet

      Lancet Publishing Group

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          Summary

          Background

          Hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (BSO) is the standard surgery for stage I endometrial cancer. Systematic pelvic lymphadenectomy has been used to establish whether there is extra-uterine disease and as a therapeutic procedure; however, randomised trials need to be done to assess therapeutic efficacy. The ASTEC surgical trial investigated whether pelvic lymphadenectomy could improve survival of women with endometrial cancer.

          Methods

          From 85 centres in four countries, 1408 women with histologically proven endometrial carcinoma thought preoperatively to be confined to the corpus were randomly allocated by a minimisation method to standard surgery (hysterectomy and BSO, peritoneal washings, and palpation of para-aortic nodes; n=704) or standard surgery plus lymphadenectomy (n=704). The primary outcome measure was overall survival. To control for postsurgical treatment, women with early-stage disease at intermediate or high risk of recurrence were randomised (independent of lymph-node status) into the ASTEC radiotherapy trial. Analysis was by intention to treat. This study is registered, number ISRCTN 16571884.

          Findings

          After a median follow-up of 37 months (IQR 24–58), 191 women (88 standard surgery group, 103 lymphadenectomy group) had died, with a hazard ratio (HR) of 1·16 (95% CI 0·87–1·54; p=0·31) in favour of standard surgery and an absolute difference in 5-year overall survival of 1% (95% CI −4 to 6). 251 women died or had recurrent disease (107 standard surgery group, 144 lymphadenectomy group), with an HR of 1·35 (1·06–1·73; p=0·017) in favour of standard surgery and an absolute difference in 5-year recurrence-free survival of 6% (1–12). With adjustment for baseline characteristics and pathology details, the HR for overall survival was 1·04 (0·74–1·45; p=0·83) and for recurrence-free survival was 1·25 (0·93–1·66; p=0·14).

          Interpretation

          Our results show no evidence of benefit in terms of overall or recurrence-free survival for pelvic lymphadenectomy in women with early endometrial cancer. Pelvic lymphadenectomy cannot be recommended as routine procedure for therapeutic purposes outside of clinical trials.

          Funding

          Medical Research Council and National Cancer Research Network.

          Related collections

          Most cited references 19

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          Systematic pelvic lymphadenectomy vs. no lymphadenectomy in early-stage endometrial carcinoma: randomized clinical trial.

          Pelvic lymph nodes are the most common site of extrauterine tumor spread in early-stage endometrial cancer, but the clinical impact of lymphadenectomy has not been addressed in randomized studies. We conducted a randomized clinical trial to determine whether the addition of pelvic systematic lymphadenectomy to standard hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy improves overall and disease-free survival. From October 1, 1996, through March 31, 2006, 514 eligible patients with preoperative International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics stage I endometrial carcinoma were randomly assigned to undergo pelvic systematic lymphadenectomy (n = 264) or no lymphadenectomy (n = 250). Patients' clinical data, pathological tumor characteristics, and operative and early postoperative data were recorded at discharge from hospital. Late postoperative complications, adjuvant therapy, and follow-up data were collected 6 months after surgery. Survival was analyzed by use of the log-rank test and a Cox multivariable regression analysis. All statistical tests were two-sided. The median number of lymph nodes removed was 30 (interquartile range = 22-42) in the pelvic systematic lymphadenectomy arm and 0 (interquartile range = 0-0) in the no-lymphadenectomy arm (P < .001). Both early and late postoperative complications occurred statistically significantly more frequently in patients who had received pelvic systematic lymphadenectomy (81 patients in the lymphadenectomy arm and 34 patients in the no-lymphadenectomy arm, P = .001). Pelvic systematic lymphadenectomy improved surgical staging as statistically significantly more patients with lymph node metastases were found in the lymphadenectomy arm than in the no-lymphadenectomy arm (13.3% vs 3.2%, difference = 10.1%, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 5.3% to 14.9%, P < .001). At a median follow-up of 49 months, 78 events (ie, recurrence or death) had been observed and 53 patients had died. The unadjusted risks for first event and death were similar between the two arms (hazard ratio [HR] for first event = 1.10, 95% CI = 0.70 to 1.71, P = .68, and HR for death = 1.20, 95% CI = 0.70 to 2.07, P = .50). The 5-year disease-free and overall survival rates in an intention-to-treat analysis were similar between arms (81.0% and 85.9% in the lymphadenectomy arm and 81.7% and 90.0% in the no-lymphadenectomy arm, respectively). Although systematic pelvic lymphadenectomy statistically significantly improved surgical staging, it did not improve disease-free or overall survival.
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            • Record: found
            • Abstract: found
            • Article: not found

            Surgical pathologic spread patterns of endometrial cancer. A Gynecologic Oncology Group Study.

            The surgical pathologic features of 621 patients with Stage I carcinoma of the endometrium are presented. All patients were treated with primary surgery consisting of total abdominal hysterectomy, bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy, selective pelvic and paraaortic lymphadenectomy and peritoneal cytology. An appreciable number of patients (144-22%) with Stage I cancers have disease outside of the uterus (lymph node metastasis, adnexal disease, intraperitoneal spread and/or malignant cells in peritoneal washings). Multiple prognostic factors particularly grade and depth of invasion are related to extrauterine disease. This study adds credence to the primary surgical approach with individualized postoperative therapy as indicated.
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              • Article: not found

              Relationship between surgical-pathological risk factors and outcome in clinical stage I and II carcinoma of the endometrium: a Gynecologic Oncology Group study.

              Between June 20, 1977 and February 5, 1983, the Gynecologic Oncology Group entered 1180 women with clinical stage I or II (occult) endometrial carcinoma into a surgical-pathological staging study. Eight hundred ninety-five patients with endometrioid or adenosquamous carcinoma were evaluable for this study which relates surgical-pathological parameters and postoperative treatment to recurrence-free interval and recurrence site. Proportional hazards modeling of time to recurrence was performed. For patients without metastasis determined by surgical-pathological staging the greatest determinant of recurrence was grade 3 histology adenocarcinoma grade 3, relative risk (RR) = 15; adenosquamous carcinoma grade 3, RR = 8.1; all adenocanthomas, RR = 1.0). Of 48 patients with histologically documented aortic node metastases, 47 had one or more of the following features: (1) grossly positive pelvic nodes, (2) grossly positive adnexal metastasis, or (3) outer one-third myometrial invasion. Pelvic radiation was administered to 48.0% and vaginal brachytherapy alone to 10.2% of patients postoperatively; 41.8% received no adjuvant radiation therapy. None of three recurrences in the vaginal implant group were vaginal or pelvic; 7.4% (7 of 95) of recurrences in the pelvic radiation therapy (RT) group were vaginal and 16.8% were pelvic; 18.2% (8 of 44) of recurrences in the no adjuvant radiation group were vaginal and 31.8% pelvic. Because of the high degree of selection bias no valid comparisons can be made of recurrence-free interval in these groups. The 5-year recurrence-free interval for patients with negative surgical-pathological risk factors (other than grade and myoinvasion) was 92.7%; involvement of the isthmus/cervix 69.8%; positive pelvic cytology 56.0%; vascular space invasion 55.0%; pelvic node or adnexal metastases 57.8%; and aortic node metastases or gross laparotomy findings 41.2%. It is not clear that cervix invasion per se diminishes survival, because it is more often associated with poor tumor differentiation (34.7% versus 24.0%, grade 3) and deep myoinvasion (47.0 vs 18.6%) than cases without cervix invasion. The relapse rate among cervix-positive and -negative cases with grade 3 lesions and deep myoinvasion is not dramatically different (48.8% vs 39.8%). The proportion of failures which were vaginal/pelvic (34.6% for the surgery only group compared to 12.5% of the RT group) appears to favor the use of adjuvant radiation for patients with more than one-third myoinvasion and grade 2 or 3 tumor. There were 97 patients in the study group with malignant cytology of which 29.1% had regional/distant failure, which compares to 10.5% of the cytology-negative patients.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Lancet
                Lancet
                Lancet Publishing Group
                0140-6736
                1474-547X
                10 January 2009
                10 January 2009
                : 373
                : 9658
                : 125-136
                Author notes
                [‡]

                Members listed at end of paper

                Article
                LANCET61766
                10.1016/S0140-6736(08)61766-3
                2646126
                19070889
                © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

                This document may be redistributed and reused, subject to certain conditions.

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                Medicine

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